Not stretching before and after any physical activity could be more harmful than you think.
Stretching can prevent injuries and help the muscles open up. Anybody can stretch, but that does not matter. What matters is that when you stretch you are stretching correctly and incorrect stretching may have a negative effect on your body.
Here is a list of 5 very important things to take note of when it comes to stretching:
1. Stretching can decrease the risk of having an injury:
Stretching increases the blood flow to the muscles that are being stretched and boost the oxygen levels. It removes metabolic waste like carbon dioxide, uric acid and ammonia. It also helps in just staying loose and limber.
2. Stretching improves flexibility and mobility:
Stretching is a really good way to make your body flexible. Flexibility means the muscles ability to elongate temporarily. Flexibility involves the length of the muscle joint mainly.
Mobility is more about the joint and it refers to the degree that the joint can be moved without being restricted by the muscles and tendons. Stretching helps in all this.
3. It helps in relieving stressed muscles:
Stretching can help in taming the tension both physically and even mentally. It relieves tight muscles which tricks your mind to believe that you are feeling relaxed. But again overdoing it can do harm too.
4. Contrary to what is believed, post run/workout stretching is MORE important:
After you have had a good run or workout, it is not the end for you just yet. After your exercise is it very important you stretch as stretching while your muscles are loose will help you recover even faster and prevent injuries. Hence it is important to note that after a run, 5-10 minutes should be spent on stretching and cooling down the muscles.
5. Dynamic and static stretching is different:
This is important to know. Dynamic stretching is done before a workout/ run while static stretching is done after the workout/run is over. It is important to know the difference and when to do which one.
Dynamic stretching involves movements while stretching and warming up the muscles. This includes things like jumping jacks, lunges, burpees etc.
Static stretching is stretching done while staying in one spot, rather than moving around much. It includes toe touching, quadriceps stretches, calf stretches etc.
This video will tell you more about pre and post stretching:
If you are frequent at the gym or workouts/ runs it is important to make sure that you give your muscles the much needed blood flow after a workout as that is what will help prevent injury in the long run.
Make sure you stretch well and correctly before and after any physical activity.