So, you’re unsure if you should stretch before or after a workout session? It’s recommended that you know all about the importance of stretching and why muscles need to stretch, as well as what happens if you don’t stretch?
Even if you don’t, you have to start somewhere, right? Knowing when to stretch is important, especially if you’re planning on doing some serious exercising at a fitness club in Little Italy. That is why we’re here to help!
Is it better to stretch before or after a workout?
Why not both, every time? Honestly, and we’re not joking, it’s almost impossible to determine if it’s better to stretch before or after a workout. We know that the San Diego Institute for Public Health advises stretching both before and after a workout, but why is that? Why can’t you just do it once and be done with it?
The thing is this – not all stretching exercises are created equal. What we mean to say is that not all stretching exercises are meant to do the same thing. There’s stretching that prepares your body for a workout, and there’s stretching that helps your body recover from a workout. These two variants are dynamic and static stretching.
What is dynamic stretching and why should I do it?
Dynamic stretching is a type of physical activity that is most often considered a great warmup activity to get your body into the exercising mood. It helps your muscles and your nervous system prepare for the activities that lie ahead, improving the overall results and making you less prone to injury.
Dynamic stretching involves getting your muscles all warmed up by performing various motions that feel comfortable within your range. That means no overdoing it, but staying strictly in your comfort zone. It mostly focuses on all the major joints of your body, readying them for what’s to come.
You should perform dynamic stretching for a single reason we’ve already mentioned – preparing your body for an exercising session. It will make the session easier, worthwhile, and, most importantly, safer.
What is static stretching and why should I do it?
On the other hand, there’s static stretching – a stretching method for helping your body recover after a workout. It involves stretching your muscles for twenty to thirty seconds. This helps your muscles elongate and relax, making it easier for them to return to their normal shape and size.
You should not skip static stretching either as it helps your entire body recover after a spot of exercising, eliminating spasms and longer-lasting muscle imbalance. It will help you feel better after a workout, and also help you get rid of that pesky lactic acid which makes your muscles burn. And wouldn’t just that be enough?
Is it necessary to stretch after a workout?
Stretching after a workout certainly is a wise course of action as it makes you recover quickly and gets your body ready for the return to the normal routine.
That being said, if you’re not too keen on stretching, you sometimes don’t have to stretch every single muscle after a workout. You should, but you don’t have to. If you’re too knackered, focus on the muscles that feel especially tight, and stretch them. This is not as good as whole-body post-workout static stretching, but hey, it’s better than nothing!
How do you stretch properly?
Ok, so we’re going to take a slightly unorthodox approach to this. We’re not going to share the usual stretching exercises you should do before and after a workout. Rather, we’re going to give you a list of stretching “do’s” and “don’ts”.
What should I do when stretching?
We begin with the “do’s”:
- DO perform static stretching in order to maintain and boost your flexibility before a workout.
- DO control the area of the muscle you’re stretching. As with exercising, stretching also demands you maintain proper form.
- DO dedicate more of your attention to muscles that feel tighter than others.
- DO try and stretch your spine too.
- DO place slight pressure on your muscles when you’ve only begun stretching.
- DO breath while stretching.
What shouldn’t I do when stretching?
Now, onto the “don’ts”:
- DON’T stretch too intensely for more than 15 seconds when doing static stretches.
- DON’T stretch immediately after getting out of bed, especially if you’ve got issues with your back.
- DON’T perform static stretching before a workout. It just doesn’t work well to prepare them.
- DON’T contract the muscle immediately after stretching it. It defeats the purpose.
“Is there a good fitness club near Little Italy where I could learn to stretch?”
If you’re struggling to find a fitness club that can cater to all your needs, you probably haven’t visited Fit in Little Italy! We’re a premium fitness center that has everything you need, including experienced staff who will show you how to properly stretch both before and after a workout. So, continue just a bit past Waterfront Park, and see what we’re about!