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Should I Stretch Before Exercise?
We recently published a blog post talking about the benefits of stretching after exercise and now it’s time to discuss whether you should stretch before your workout too. There are a variety of benefits to stretching but, if you’re asking yourself “should I stretch before exercise?”, the answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think…
Increasing your range of motion
One of the evident benefits of stretching before exercise is that you will have an increased range of motion and, therefore, will be able to work out to your full potential. This is particularly important for sports such as gymnastics and dance, where your body will have to twist and turn in a variety of different ways.
Becoming more flexible
With an increased range of motion comes more flexibility. Again, the amount of flexibility needed is dependent on the type of sport that the individual is engaging in. While we would assume that being as flexible as possible is preferable in all cases, this is not necessarily true because it can actually reduce the muscle’s natural springs and lead to injury more easily.
However, the body does need to have some flexibility in order to avoid a muscle strain injury. Therefore, it is clear that there is a fine balance when it comes to flexibility and ensuring that you reduce your risk of injury wherever possible.
The relationship between performance and stretching
It was originally thought that, by stretching before exercise, you would increase your performance. However, some research suggests that this may not be the case despite your muscles feeling looser. Some even go so far as to say that stretching temporarily reduces muscle strength and performance during exercise, so this is definitely something to consider when you’re asking yourself “should I stretch before exercise?”.
So, should you be stretching before exercise?
This is one of those questions that doesn’t have a simple yes or no answer as it is entirely dependent upon the individual themselves and the type of exercise that they plan on doing. While stretching may be required for some sports, it may be frowned upon in others. It’s worth giving it a try to see how it affects your performance, but remember to be careful and know your limits.
If you’re looking for more information and advice on preparation and recovery for your workouts, contact us today.