Stretching before exercise may not be all that good for you. In fact, it may be doing you harm.
The long-held belief that stretching before a workout improves mobility and prevents injuries is facing a challenge from exercise physiologists, reported The Guardian.
Jody Anderson of the University of Tampa said he used to advocate static stretching until he realised he still experienced the same injury issues as other runners.
When we stretch to the point of pain, muscles are actually tearing at a microscopic level. This re-molds the tissue into a longer, more flexible shape. But if you don’t have the strength to control that extra flexibility, the result may be more injuries, not fewer.
Research suggests dynamic stretching may be the better option. This puts your body through the range of motion it needs for the task you are about to perform. Taking this into account, runners and other exercisers might benefit more from skipping, hopping or a lighter form of the exercise you’re about to do.
The Fifa 11 plus program runs on the principle of dynamic stretching. Soccer players warm up for training with jogging, light aerobic movement and agility exercises.
While some people with restricted mobility may benefit from the increased flexibility stretching brings, it can be more efficiently obtained through techniques like roller massage, Andersen advised.
Even post-workout stretching is not always necessary. Andersen warned that after an intense workout your muscle tissue is probably damaged. What it needs is not more activity, but time to repair.