Stretching: Can You Do It Wrong?

With high activity comes tired muscles, and with tired muscles comes the need to stretch, but what kind of stretching is right for you? How long should you stretch? When should you stretch?

Here are some of our most frequently asked questions in relation to stretching!

What’s the Difference between Active and Static stretching?

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            Think of your muscle like a Rubber band.  Before you work out, your rubber band has been in the freezer. If you take that rubber band and pull as hard and as fast as you can you WILL snap it. If you pull slowly and consistently on the rubber band, you will stretch it out and it will lose all of its elasticity (ability to contract). So, the best way to prepare your rubber band for activity is to do what is called Active Stretching. Think of active stretching like slightly pulling on the rubber band over and over again until the rubber band is warm but can still contract.  Same goes for active stretches. We want to get the muscles moving without over working or over stretching them.

            Static Stretching is what you want to do after workouts, or in your free time to improve flexibility and keep the muscles from pulling on joints. Static stretching involves holding stretches for 20-25 seconds at a time.

            Both are very valuable and serve very different purposes, so Integrate both into your daily routine for maximal improvement!

Can I overstretch?

 While it is possible to over stretch, generally the negative side effects of stretching come from long term over-stretching. With extreme flexibility can come a lack of stability in joints. However, these issues tend to only appear at the very highest levels of flexibility. So, stretch often!

Will stretching help my joints and flexibility?  

Stretching one time may or may not make your joints feel better. But Stretching EVERYDAY will almost certainly make your joints significantly happier with you. If you have been hard at work building muscle, chances are good that your tired muscles are pulling on those joints, and static stretching can seriously help. For added effect, heat up those muscles first!

            If you continuously work on your stretching, your flexibility will absolutely increase over time, and you may notice other benefits from your new found flexibility, such as less back, neck, leg, and even foot pain!

Do I need to do yoga?

            First off, Yoga is fun. (I didn’t believe it either)

For the same reason that most of us get a better workout in a group, yoga will push you to stretch your muscles in a way that your body will be grateful for, while providing a calm and relaxing environment that leaves you feeling refreshed. (Feel free to come try your first yoga class for free!)

            With that said… No, you don’t NEED to do yoga. You can absolutely stretch those muscles right in your own home, in the airport, at the park…etc.!    

What stretches should I do???

          There are so many stretches for each muscle group, we wouldn’t even know where to start. But if you contact us, or come in and chat with us, we will be happy to set you up with a routine that caters to what you need and fits into your busy schedule!

 

It’s what we do.