Five things you should know about stretching
1. Stretch at the end of your workout – stretching a muscle that has been inactive can create tears in the muscle fibers. Always warm up before your strength train, and stretch at the end.
2. A stretch that “hurts so good”, may not be beneficial – the most effective stretches are those that create a light to moderate sensation in the joint or the muscle, followed by feeling of release or lengthening.
3. Tightness in a muscle or joint is rarely isolated to one area of the body – if you are tight in one area, there is most likely an imbalance somewhere else in your body. A good stretching protocol targets a number of muscles and joints to be sure all imbalances are addressed.
4. Muscles and joints become tight when we move in repetitive patterns or when we are sedentary for an extended period of time – a program that combines an effective stretching protocol with cross training exercises is the best way to correct these imbalances and permanently resolve chronic tightness.
5. Stretching can help heal and prevent injuries – it takes plenty of time and patience to recover from an injury. A good stretching program, which can take less than an hour every week, can offer substantial improvements in exercise performance, endurance, and overall physical well-being.