You've probably seen a runner or two holding a quad stretch at a red light while waiting to cross traffic, or watched a person being stretched by a trainer at the gym after a tough workout.
I think we have all heard that stretching is something we should be incorporating into our workout routines to increase and maintain flexibility, but the question is:
Does when we do it matter?
Crash course on stretching...
There are two main types of stretching: dynamic and static.
Dynamic stretching involves priming your muscles and joints for the activity ahead by moving through full range of motion. This type of stretching, you guessed it, is for BEFORE you workout.
Examples of dynamic stretching include: leg swings, arm circles, and walking lunges.
Static stretching, on the other hand, consists of holding a position for 15-30 seconds to increase flexibility in the muscle AFTER you exercise.
Examples of static stretching include: forward fold, standing quadricep stretch, and pigeon pose.
It is important to use the different stretches at the appropriate time to help prevent the risk of injury. You wouldn't want to use static stretches before you even get the body warm as it is the equivalent of stretching a cold rubber band as far as it can go.
So stick to the dynamic moves for BEFORE exercise and keep the static positions for AFTER. If you need ideas on how to stretch or what exactly you should be doing, leave me a comment or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!