To stretch or not to stretch. That is the question. We’ve all heard the same basic rules that you need to stretch before your workouts to warm up your muscles, that holding a stretch will increase your flexibility, and that if you don’t stretch before your exercise you’re more likely to get injured. But recent research from the NHS squashes all of these myths and here’s why.
Stretching Before Workouts Could Cause More Harm than Good
Yes you heard this right. Some research suggests that stretching before your workouts may cause more harm, since you may overextend your muscles. When you stretch your muscles before you exercise you’re muscles get overly tired, causing you to have lowered performance during your workouts.
What You Should Do Instead?
Instead of stretching you should warm up your muscles by doing light aerobic exercises. For example if you’re about to go for run, you can do some walking lunges to warm up. Even a simple walk, squats, and march steps are great low aerobic exercises that will warm up your muscles before you workout.
So, When Should You Stretch?
Now that the verdict is out, you should only stretch after you exercise. This is a great way to help slow down your breathing and heart rate after an intense workout. Of course, it’s recommended to add stretching into your regular workout routine, like weight training and cardio, stretching is an important aspect of any workout routine. Stretching your muscles does not only help with flexibility, but it can also help prevent injuries. Try to incorporate stretching exercises into your fitness routine at least once or twice a week.