The Benefits of Stretching

The Benefits of Stretching

  • Man stretching on the ground before a run

If your idea of stretching is to stretch out a muscle and then hold it in position for 30– to 40 seconds, you are not alone. ‘Static stretching”, as this is known, is the most commonly recognized form of stretching. In recent years, however, “dynamic stretching, or stretching combined with movement, has begun to replace static stretching in many pre-workout routines. Here is a chart to help distinguish between the benefits and drawbacks of each type of stretching:  

Dynamic Stretching 

  • Is the best form of pre-workout stretching 
  • Prevents injury 
  • Involves movement that mimics the motions of the workout sport, (for example, running, jumping and swinging your arms before playing tennis) 
  • Warms the muscle  
  • Prepares your muscles to exert more power or force 
  • Increases agility 
  • Increases balance 
  • Increases coordination 
  • Increases flexibility 

Static Stretching 

  • Is the best form of post-workout stretching 
  • Prevents injury 
  • Involves stretching a muscle as far as it will go and holding that position for a brief period of time. 
  • Relaxes the muscle 
  • Increases range of motion 
  • Decreases post-workout soreness 
  • Decreases the force exerted by a muscle immediately after stretching. 
  • Decreases post-stretching performance.  

Note: Regardless of the type of stretching you choose to do, it’s important to avoid bouncing while stretching. This can lead to injuries.