Stretching both before and after exercising is an important part in making sure you are both warmed up to move and to prevent injury.
But did you know that there’s two specific ways to stretch for before you exercise, and then afterwards? This is because stretching before and after exercise has two different but helpful functions.
Stretching Before Exercising
Before you exercise, stretching is important to help warm up your body, prepare your muscles for movement and increase flexibility for that movement. It also has the important role of helping prevent injury.
The best type of stretching to do before you exercise is ballistic stretches. Ballistic stretches are where you ‘bounce’ towards the stretch using your momentum.
If you take note of professional athletes before they play, you’ll see them doing small movements, slowly increasing to larger ones as they warm up. Take Rafael Nadal for example – before he plays, you’ll see him starting with slow runs and gentle hitting, which he then builds up in intensity before his game starts.
Stretching After Exercising
After exercising, stretching is important in helping enhance your flexibility and reducing muscle stiffness and soreness. Stretching after an intense workout will help reduce the lactic acid buildup in muscles, which is what can cause that muscle soreness feeling 2-3 days after exercising.
The best type of stretches to do after exercising are static stretches. These are the more traditional stretch, where you hold a pose with your muscles and joints at end range (or extended out).
Keep in mind that static stretches can temporarily make a muscle weaker, so it’s important to do them after you’ve finished exercising, or if you’re stretching for flexibility or injury prevention.
If you’ve injured yourself exercising, book an appointment with us so we can help get you healed and moving freely again.
We can also give you exercises and advice on how to prepare the area for movement, to prevent any future injuries. Contact us today!