Is Stretching Good For You?

Is Stretching Good For You?

Brian H, MED, MS - Senior Exercise Physiologist Duke Health Systems

Most of us have the idea in our minds – probably based on years of taking physical education classes in school, that some sort of static stretching is a recommended plan before starting any type of exercise. We all did it! But a few years ago, studies began to look into the fact that performance was actually REDUCED by 5%-7% when individuals stretched beforehand.

So, what should you do? A deeper look at the research revealed that doing short bouts of static stretching (rather than holding a stretch for 1+ minutes) combined with intervals of dynamic movement related to the planned activity, actually reduced the negative effects, and in some cases helped to improve performance.

Let’s talk recommendations. Static stretching before activity? It hasn’t proven to prevent injury, or reduce soreness. DYNAMIC stretching (movement similar to the planned exercise/activity) beforehand is just a way of warming up at a lower intensity and sending neural messages to your muscles and joints to prepare for exercise. 

More recommended is stretching AFTER exercise when muscles have been fatigued and worked by activity. Hold stretches for 15-30 seconds; it isn’t necessary or recommended to hold them longer. Repeating a stretch 2-4 times is a good way to take your stretch from “maintenance” to “improving” muscle flexibility and range of motion.  And YES! You can stretch anytime you have been active, not just after vigorous activity.

Stretching and other forms of maintenance – yoga, massage, trigger point work – are part of a good body maintenance plan

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Comments (5)

  1. donoasis

    Depends on how you stretching and whom you stretching with.. Female companions can be worthwhile

    May 12, 2016
    1. knights68

      I dig your thought process here! lol

      May 12, 2016
  2. Munkyman

    Bob Anderson’s book “Stretching” is one of the best on the subject I’ve ever used. It has many routines broken up by what activities you engage in, routine stretches you can & should do whenever & stretches to help fix issues such as sore back or tight hamstrings.

    I recommend anyone who buys it to get the eBook or get the wire bound edition so the book will lay flat on the floor without you having to break the binding.

    May 12, 2016
    1. knights68

      cool info and cool idea!

      May 12, 2016
  3. adven1936

    Physical exercises are always important for body to make it healthy,fit and remain active all the time and stretch is one of the most useful exercise among many such exercises. The research paper writing service is not useful for research purposes only as it is also used for some other purposes too.

    April 13, 2017