Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Stretching Before Exercise Myths

Myth: Perform stretches before a warm up.

Fact: Though stretching should be part of warming up, the muscles must be warmed before flexibility exercises. Perform light cardiovascular exercise for 5 to 10 minutes before stretching to prepare your muscles for activity.

The best type of stretching to perform before your workout is dynamic stretching. This is stretching that involves movement of the muscles. Dynamic stretching includes arm circles, weightless walking lunges, side bends and trunk rotations.

Sports scientists have determined that stretching before you exercise could increase the chance of injury and not decrease as previously thought. Static stretching before you have thoroughly warmed up causes muscles to tighten up which is the opposite of what you want before you exercise.

Some studies have suggested that stretching actually makes muscles more susceptible to injury. They claim that by stretching, muscle fibers are lengthened and destabilized, making them less prepared for the strain of exercise. “You might want to warm-up and stretch before a run, but if you are lifting weights wait until after the workout to stretch your muscles,” Tyne suggests.

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