Is Stretching Beneficial to Your Health?
To be or not to be? To stretch, or not to stretch?
Does stretching provide any benefits?
The short answer? Absolutely! In fact, the American Heart Association recommends including strengthening and stretching exercise as part of your moderate and intense aerobic activities for maximum benefit. The American College of Sports Medicine includes flexibility exercises under their exercise recommendations. Specifically, that “Adults should do flexibility exercises at least two or three days each week to improve range of motion. Each stretch should be held for 10 to 30 seconds, to the point of tightness or slight discomfort. Repeat each stretch two to four times, accumulating 60 seconds per stretch.”
But why is stretching so important? Stretching our muscles allows us to increase our flexibility and range of motion. The benefits go beyond he improved ability to move– regular stretching may also improve blood flow and circulation, reduce stress, minimize wear and tear on joints, decrease risk of injury, enhance physical performance and reduce pain and stiffness.
There are various kinds of stretching:
- Dynamic: The purpose of this kind of stretching is to get the body moving (pre-exercise). Stretches are not held for any specific amount of time.
- Static: These stretches are held for a certain amount of time, between 10-30 seconds, and are usually completed post-exercise.
- Ballistic: This type of stretch involves repetitive rapid and bouncy movements. Exercise caution if you choose to do this type of stretching as it may carry risk of injury.
If you’re not sure what type of stretching would fit well with your lifestyle, especially if you have suffered from a recent injury, please reach out to us!