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How Important Is Stretching Before And After Exercise?

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There are two different schools of thought when it comes to the topic of stretching prior to and after exercising. Some fitness gurus say that stretching before doing your regular exercise routines helps in making the muscles loose and relaxed prior to doing strenuous movements. They say that stretching enhances the body’s flexibility because it lengthens tight muscles and increases the blood flow. With an increased blood flow, soreness of the muscles is reduced and the potential for injury is eliminated. Other people feel differently about that. There are claims that stretching is not needed and could be more harmful than beneficial. According to the British Journal of Sport Medicine, there is no proof that stretching before exercising reduces muscle soreness.

As for stretching after exercise, there are also mixed reviews. Several experts believe that stretching should be recommended because it increases your range of motions. Other people disagree. Static stretching is the practice of assuming a certain pose. It is like standing against the wall in order to stretch the hamstring muscles or by bending over to touch your toes. In a previous research of almost 3,000 participants, 54% claimed that static stretching helped in reducing their muscle soreness after their exercise session. Ironically, in the same research, the official results gathered by the George Institute for Global Health from their controlled groups show that there were not much of a difference from the groups that claimed there is a reduction of muscle soreness and with the other group that did not notice any changes at all.

These findings are inconclusive and therefore useless in supporting the theories that pre and post stretching exercises is actually beneficial. The good news is, it is not such a big problem at all. It will be up to your discretion if you prefer to do some stretching before or after your exercise sessions. Since there are no adverse effects whatsoever, it can be safe to do some stretching at whatever time that you prefer. You can even do some stretching both before and after your exercise routines. Some people prefer to do that as a warming up and cooling down routine along with their regular workouts. Just use your better sense of judgment and do what makes you feel comfortable. You will definitely get a lot of benefits from doing some exercise just don’t overdo it and burn out your muscles.