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Why should you stretch before exercising?

people stretching before exercise

What does stretching do, anyway?

With stretching, your flexibility and range of joint motion can show significant improvement over time. You may also be able to bend and twist better, which can be a benefit for exercises like yoga and gymnastics.

Static stretch

Stretching a given muscle to the point of moderate discomfort. Hold the position for 30 seconds or longer.

Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF)

Holding a stretch while contracting and relaxing the muscle.

Dynamic stretch

The repetition of gentle movements like arm swings. Range of motion is gradually increased.

Ballistic or bouncing stretches

Performing bouncing or jerking motions during a stretch to increase range of motion.



What happens to your body when you stretch?

Through stretching, the nervous system is retrained to allow more muscle elasticity. Consistency is key, as the flexibility you gain from regular stretching will dissipate 4 weeks after you’ve stopped.

Is it necessary to be flexible?

It really depends on the types of activities you engage in. If you are a yogi or ballerina, stretching can be an enormous asset that will improve your routines at the studio. If you are a jogger, however, the gains may be less relevant.

Does stretching before exercise affect performance?

Some research shows that stretching before exercise can actually be counterproductive, making your muscles weaker and slower.

Does it reduce risk of injury?

A study at Neuroscience Research Australia conducted 3 randomized trials on the effects of stretching. The conclusion was that stretching was largely ineffectual in reducing the risk of exercise injury.

Should I stretch after exercising?

There is evidence that after-workout stretching can have positive effects on one’s power and speed. Post-exercise stretching will also slow down your breathing and heart rate. Your body and mind will be restored to resting state.