To Stretch Or Not To Stretch
Everyone heads to the gym to get a good workout. But, how about a stretch? Often regarded as a waste of time or only necessary if sore, stretching can be a low priority at the gym. It may not be as rewarding as seeing bulging muscles after a long workout, but is it as beneficial as a workout? Is it even necessary? If the effectiveness of stretching has crossed your mind, read on to find answers to common questions. If it is helpful, what does it do? Does it matter if one stretches before or after a workout? These questions and others will be answered in today’s post.
What Does Stretching Do?
A study was recently conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of stretching and flexibility. Participants were divided into groups and given stretching exercises to hold for 30 seconds, followed by a 10 second rest for 1 minute for several weeks. Some groups stretched daily, some weekly, and some not at all. Results found that a little stretching goes a long way. Stretching as few as three times a week resulted in mobility gains. Gaining mobility aids in workouts and strengthens muscles in flexibility. The study showed stretching being just as important as exercise. Here’s why.
- Improves Flexibility
- Increases blood and nutrient supply to muscles, reducing muscle soreness
- Lengthens tight muscles
- Decreases injury
How To Properly Stretch
To gain the most out of your stretch routine, you will want to wait till after your workout to stretch. Ian Shrier MD,PhD, and researcher at Jewish General Hospital in Quebec, Canada says, ‘If strength and power are important to you, don’t stretch before exercise. If you enjoy stretching, stretch after exercise, or at other times.’ He also noted that stretching over weeks to months will increase your force, power, and speed and may prevent injury. Acute stretching and regular stretching over weeks to months will increase range of motion as well. Focus on key areas of your body after each exercise session. Stretch muscles that are tight, or that have just been worked. Researchers found that stretching 4 times a week provided 82% greater flexibility than stretching twice a week. So, the recommended frequency is between 3-7 days per week. It is also recommended to stretch 30 seconds per muscle one time each stretching day, 3-7 times a week.
Visit Franklin Athletic Club and speak with a personal trainer to find which stretches are best for you. Make the most of your workouts at our full service gym. We work hard to create a sense of community within the club by building relationships. Grab hold of a better life today with a gym membership in a healthy Franklin community!