Should You Stretch?
Some experts say “yes” and others may tell you, “it’s a waste of time.” So what’s the real answer? As with anything, it depends. It depends on what your goals are. I will give you some examples for both sides of the argument.
If your goal is to increase overall flexibility then you will need to hold static stretches. Static meaning that you will hold a specific stretch anywhere from 20 seconds onwards to stretch the muscle and increase flexibility. However, not everyone cares about increasing their flexibility.
So should everyone stretch? Not necessarily.
If your goal is to increase overall strength studies have shown that holding static stretches before a weight training session can actually decrease your performance. Same with doing static stretches in-between sets of your exercises. When stretching was done between sets a decrease in performance was noted.
Surely everyone should stretch after their workout, right? Well, again it depends. I would suggest that everyone take at least 5 minutes at the very end of their workout to hold some stretches. If nothing else it allows you to bring your heart rate back down to a resting level before ending your workout. Also, the muscles will be warm and have significant blood flow to them which will allow you to get the most out of your stretching.
So you’re saying I should quit my Yoga class? NO! Stretching can be very rewarding and can help you improve posture and perform everyday tasks much easier. Unfortunately there are no one size fits all answers when it comes to fitness or nutrition. Many time the answer is, “it depends.” However, if your goal is to increase flexibility check out some of our stretches performed right here at The BodyHoliday and subscribe to BodyHolidayTV for more great fitness and nutritional videos.
Don’t forget to see Leisan our resident Nutritionist and BodyAware Consultant for more personalised advice when you are with us!