When it comes to physical fitness, stretching is a crucial part of the
workout routine. Too many athletes and active people neglect stretching,
causing themselves undue pain while risking severe injury. However, when
it comes to stretching, there are two approaches—pre-workout stretching
and post-workout stretching.
The Two Kinds of Stretches
Your body has different needs before and after your workout. To meet those
needs, different types of stretching are required. The two main types
of stretching are dynamic stretches and static stretches. Dynamic stretches
move the joints through their full range of motion, putting them in gentle
but thorough motions to prepare them for exertion. It also brings circulation
to muscles that will require more oxygen. As a result, this is the best
type of stretch for pre-workout routines.
Static stretches are what most people think of when it comes to stretching.
They involve flexing and holding, allowing the muscle to fully extend.
Static stretching dulls the nervous system temporarily, which cools the
body down while preventing overuse and soreness of the muscle. Stretching
also resets all the tightened and contracted muscles into a more natural
position, allowing you to retain a good posture post-workout.
The Best Time to Stretch (If You Have to Choose)
To be clear, both schools of thought are beneficial. Ideally, athletes
will stretch both before and after a workout, giving their bodies the
optimal treatment. However, if you have to choose, your body’s need to
prepare for a workout is likely
more crucial than your
Dynamic stretching before a workout prevents an athlete from overextending
or injuring themselves during a workout. Preparing the joints for exertion
prevents ligament tears, tendon ruptures, cramps, and other severe sports injuries.
In contrast, post-workout stretching prevents soreness and stiffness. Though
it may be good to avoid soreness whenever possible, soreness is a natural
part of building strength. While post-workout stretching is good,
stretching before a workout is absolutely vital.
For more information about fitness, health, and other medical questions,
feel free to explore the Monterey Park Hospital blog archive!
This article contains general information about medical conditions and
treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as
such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis
of a physician.
If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should
consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.