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The Right Way to Stretch | EnduraQ

The Right Way to Stretch

Stretching is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and a physically fit body. Regular stretching is required for maintaining our mobility and range of motion as we age. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends stretching each of the major muscle groups at least twice a week for 60 seconds per exercise. But what is the best way to stretch? When is the best time to do it? How often is it needed? While any kind of stretching is better than none at all, learning to stretch the right way will yield optimal results.


The best time to stretch is after a workout, when your muscles will be warm and pliable from increased circulation. While dynamic stretching before exercise is also a great idea as part of your warm up, the most productive (and safest) time to perform “typical” static stretching (holding a stretch for 10+ seconds) is post-workout.


Dynamic stretches are moving stretches that activate the muscles you'll be using during your workout. This technique of warming up in motion has been shown to enhance muscular performance and power. These studies show that pre-workout dynamic stretching can help you lift more weight and increase overall athletic performance compared to no stretching or static stretching. Other studies have found that static stretching before exercise can actually weaken performance. Most likely this is due to the muscles tiring from holding the stretch.


Considering all this information, a good rule of thumb to follow is to perform a 5-10 minute dynamic stretching warm up before exercise, followed by a post-workout cool down consisting of static stretches. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds and don't forget to pay attention to your breath.  Add in some foam rolling for bonus points! Finally, it’s important to know that with any stretch, dynamic or static, you should not feel pain.

 

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