There's a lot of research out there on stretching. Unfortunately, some of it is bad (and was unnecessarily hyped in the media) and a lot of the results are contradictory.
It's tough to parse out because there are so many variables.
Are we talking stretching before or after activity?
Static stretching (hold the stretch) or dynamic (move through a range of motion)?
Are you looking at short term or long term positives and negatives?
Which muscle groups are involved?
What kind of shape are the study participants in?
What is the goal of the stretching?
See what I mean?
In spite of all those variables, some consensus has emerged. To boil it down in the simplest terms, it is a good idea to stretch after exercise. It can also be beneficial to do dynamic, range of motion stretching before certain types of exercise. What does that mean? Dynamic stretches take your body through its full range of motion--think arm circles, hip circles, torso twists, easy lunges and squats, high knee skipping, and so on.
After exercise, while your muscles are warm and pliable, gently stretching the muscles you worked for 20 to 30 seconds has the following benefits:
--It increases your range of motion
--It increases your flexibility and muscle length
--It increases your ability to perform day to day tasks more comfortably
--It improves your posture
--It can prevent/improve muscle imbalances that may lead to injury
--It can improve musculoskeletal pain
Looking for a comprehensive workout plan that includes just the kind of stretching and recovery you need to get your best results? Go Here!
And be sure to send me a message HERE if you have questions about the advice I've given or what program will be right for your goals.
**And the lawyer in me has to tell you that you undertake any physical activity at your own risk. Your reliance on any advice in this blog post or found elsewhere on this blog is purely at your own risk. Please consult your medical professional if you have any concerns.