Stretch or not to stretch Part 2
Post Exercise Stretching
For most, stretching after exercise seems to be an unnecessary and energy zapping chore, needlessly increasing the length of their workout or sport.
However, stretching after exercise is vital if long term participation in exercise and sport is required.
Muscles work in pairs. Depending on the angle and force of resistance, one muscle will shorten while the other lengthens. The muscle that shortens is usually the one under strain and it is these muscles that require stretching after exercise.
Due to the repetitive nature of sport, the muscles that regular shorten under load can, over time, adaptively shorten. This is why stretching them afterwards is so important. By not doing so you will find your flexibility and mobility significantly reduces, often resulting in either constant stiffness or injury. Unfortunately, the consequence of this does not show at the time, a little like smoking in that sense, so it doesn't seem that important. Trust me it is!! I see clients everyday, presenting with long term injury and stiffness all of which could have been significantly reduced or even prevented had they stretched throughout their early years of sport.
So, the next time you finish your exercise or sport leave five minutes to stretch out those worked muscles. Hold them for at least 15 seconds to maintain flexibility or up to 30-45 seconds to develop it further.
Got a question? Just ask!