To Stretch or Not to Stretch???
As a physiotherapist, I get asked this question all the time. Physiotherapists pride themselves on being able to provide their clients with research & evidence based treatment options. So time to answer a few nagging questions.
When is the best time to stretch? What are the benefits of stretching? Does anyone actually know?
When should we stretch
Research states that people should aim to stretch all major muscle groups at least once a day, a few times per week. Getting up from your desk throughout the day and stretching a few muscles at a time is highly recommended. Aging people and people with pre-existing injuries should stretch before exercise, however you must warm up with some aerobic exercise first e.g cycling or light jogging.
[su_quote]Think of your muscles as toffee… Hard, cold toffee will break, Soft, warm toffee with stretch & stretch.[/su_quote]
What are the benefits of stretching
“Stretching appears to do more than just increase range of motion”. (Arnold Nelson, Associate Professor of Kinesiology at Louisiana State University.)
Studies have found that a regular stretching program can improve performance, making people stronger & increasing their endurance.
Stretching doesn’t take the place of any normal strength & conditioning program but supplements it very well. Stretching is a great way to start for those people who are too weak to begin formal exercise. Stretching helps people maintain / gain flexibility, improve posture ultimately avoiding injuries and pain.
Consult your Physiotherapist for a tailored & specific stretching program to avoid injury & improve your performance.
Do we actually know?
People involved in a daily stretching study produced the following results at week 10
- Flexibility improved by 18%
- Strength improved by 32%
- Endurance at 60% max improved by 29%
- Vertical jump distance improved by 7%
- Long distance jump improved by 2%
The people in the control group who did no stretching, did not show any improvement in any of the above areas.
Daily stretch routine
Here are some useful links to great stretching programs
- 10 Yoga Stretches You Should Do Daily
- Stretching Exercises | Men’s Health
- Morning Stretch Routine for Women
- Daily Stretch Routine