Is stretching really nothing but a waste of time? The answer can only be get after examining all the aspects of this form of exercise.
A lot of studies have surfaced on the internet lately regarding the usefulness of stretching before exercising. While some are in full support there are a few people who are at loggerheads. Technically, it all depends on an individual’s body whether or not it is gaining any benefit from stretching.
Why do people stretch?
A lot of fitness gurus advocate stretching before a workout. Stretching is usually done to warm up your body before going further with some core training. It prepares your entire system for the upnext sport or some serious physical activity. Static stretching is the most practiced form of stretching as compared to dynamic stretching and PNF stretching.
Static Stretching Exercise Vs Dynamic Stretching Exercise
The two main forms of stretching are static and dynamic. Let us tell you a brief about them first before going to the main topic.
Static stretching: This kind of stretch is challenging yet comfortable. It is done for a shorter time period, say 20-30 seconds. This is good to give a kick to your workout without straining the body. This is also called as general stretching and anyone can practice this without any risk of injury.
Dynamic stretching: This form of stretch is movement-based stretching exercise. Also referred to as active stretching. It stretches the muscles to loosen them in a rhythmic and controlled movement. This practice is highly common with athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
Also Read: 7 Fitness Beliefs That Are Actually Myths!
What Does Stretching Do?
- Stretching increases a person’s tolerability to ease the discomfort caused by exercising.
- Stretching is said to be great for athletes who need to maintain and increase the flexibility of their bodies. Most martial artists, gymnasts, etc. practice stretching.
- Stretching provides a positive psychological response
- It helps normal people get into the habit of working out
- Some doctors say that stretching is helpful in reducing the pain of an injured part of the body as it toys with the nervous system.
- Negatively, stretching causes fascicle growth!
- Also, if you do stretching right before a physical activity without any break, it is likely to reduce your strength, power, balance and sometimes speed but in a slight manner.
What Stretching doesn't do?
- Stretching doesn’t reduce the rate of injuries. Instead, it supposedly increases the injury rate!
- In contrast with popular fitness beliefs, stretching is not found effective enough to decrease the chances of getting injured in any kind of physical activity or sports.
- Stretching doesn’t create floppy or loose muscles/tendons.
- However, it doesn’t reduce DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness) after exercise.
- Stretching doesn’t lengthen muscles permanently.
- Stretching doesn’t cure any physical injury.
- Stretching doesn’t fix your body posture, which, ironically, a lot of people think it does!
All in all, it is very difficult to come to a conclusion after seeing all the positive as well as negative aspects of stretching. It is better to listen to your body.
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