Stretching is essential for maintaining healthy and strong ligaments, muscles and joints for physical activity. However, do you have to do it before or after the exercise routine? Read on and you’ll find out!
Sports stretching consists of exercises designed to increase the degree of joint mobility and stretch the tendons. There are various exercises that can improve or worsen sports development, depending on whether they are done before or after training.
For this reason, it is necessary to know how, but above all when to stretch.
Some sportsmen do not take the importance of stretching muscles seriously. Despite this, it is a practice that has great benefits for the whole body:
- Prevents muscle injuries and cramps.
- Oxygenate the muscles.
- Improves sports performance.
- Strengthens tendons, joints, ligaments, and muscles.
- Extend the range of mobility.
- Reduces the amount of lactic acid.
- Improves flexibility.
Now, stretching before and after your workout routine is important to take care of your body by doing sport and, in turn, to enhance many aspects of physical activity.
In this sense, not all sports disciplines have the same degree of flexibility. This means, for example, that to do gymnastics you have to stretch a lot more than for other sports like running.
Stretching before and after training can lengthen your routine. However, these additional minutes are really important. The body, in fact, acquires a better posture and increases the ability to control the muscles.
Dynamic and static stretching
Stretching before training has different functions than the one performed after. In fact, the same exercises are not performed at the beginning and at the end of a routine. The difference between stretching before and after training lies in the dynamism of the former and in the static nature of the latter.
This type of stretching is what happens before physical activity. These are exercises that stimulate the nervous system and prepare muscles for physical activity. Usually, these are energetic exercises, such as rotation of the pelvis, wrists, feet, and so on.
This stretching takes care of increasing the blood flow and lubricating the joints. It must be accompanied, however, by other exercises to warm up the body to be ready to start the routine.
So, some of the dynamic exercises you can do are:
- Legs lifting.
- Circular movements of the ankles, wrists, and head.
- Side steps.
- Pelvis rotation.
Static stretching should be put into practice after finishing the training routine. These are prolonged stretches for 20-30 seconds. The purpose of these stretches is to reduce muscle tension after training.
This type of exercise is usually linked to the development of muscular flexibility. In fact, it is not about preparing the body for a workout, but about lengthening and giving mobility to all the extremities. In turn, it is also useful to oxygenate and relax the muscles for rest.
Here are some exercises that you can put into practice:
- Touch the toes.
- Yoga positions.
- Knees to the chest.
- Pilates exercises.
Do everything correctly
It is important to know the correct way to perform these stretches to avoid injury or discomfort. Although it is advisable to do this before training, you should always remember to do a good warm-up.
Stretching could lead you to feel a slight discomfort; however, you should never feel pain. Don’t force your body beyond its capabilities, it could be dangerous. The muscles must not be contracted, but relaxed to make the blood flow better and allow stretching.
Likewise, it is not advisable to do static stretches before the training routine, as stretching the unheated muscles could cause lesions of the muscle tissue. This would cause permanent damage, little by little.
Furthermore, you have to pay attention to every detail, to avoid traumas due to the bad performance of the exercise. Obviously, we recommend using suitable clothes and shoes, hydrating yourself, eating well and breathing in a controlled manner.
To conclude, stretching before and after the exercise routine guarantees better sports performance, excellent circulation and, in general, benefits for the body. Now you just have to put these exercises into practice before and after your workout!