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Stretching -Should You Do It?

Stretching is widely regarded as a means of improving flexibility and preventing injury, but for many, it's just a dull routine before exercise. Stretching can be pretty boring so often people rush through their exercises without really thinking about the reasons behind implementing certain practices before their workout. But truth be told, it's not just a pointless activity, or crossword puzzle answer; it can greatly help with recovery and the overall feeling of your muscles. In this article, we'll give you insight on the types of stretching one can do, how beneficial and not boring it is, as well as WHEN you should do it! Without further ado, let's get to it!

Types Of Stretching

Stretching is divided into two main categories: Static Stretching and Dynamic Stretching.

Static Stretching- This type of stretching consists in holding a position for a prolonged period of time to achieve physical flexibility. Stretches are usually held at the maximum point of tension for 30 seconds, causing muscles to relax. What should i do before static stretching? This type of stretching is perfect to do after a workout when you are trying to relax the musculature. However, you should avoid doing this before a workout and instead, focus on exercises that focus on the opposite side of muscular contraction -The activation!

Dynamic Stretching- In contrast to static stretches, dynamic stretches have a natural flow of movement as their main purpose is to prepare the body for activity. Dynamic Stretching is a type of exercise that moves the muscles and joints through a full range of motion, coordinating multiple muscle groups in order to increase overall flexibility. Not only does this help with your flexibility, but it also serves as a great warmup before any workout!

So now you probably know what types of stretching there are. But do you know when should you stretch? Stretching can be done at almost any time, but you should keep certain factors in mind.

Here's our list (in no particular order):

1. Before a workout- Contrary to popular belief, static stretches are in fact counterproductive if you do them before your workout. This is simply because static stretching relaxes the musculature and brings the feeling of relaxation. Of course, this is counterproductive to an intense workout, where the goal is to progressively recruit and activate more and more muscle fibers. If you do stretching before a workout, make sure to do dynamic stretching, rather than static stretching. Dynamic stretching, as mentioned previously, is perfect for muscle activation, thus preparing the musculature for the workout ahead.

2. After a workout- During intense workouts, we heavily engage the muscle fibers and the nervous system. With time, the connective tissue (called the 'fascia' ) that covers all muscles gets tense and that tension needs to somehow be relieved. If you don't have the chance to get a weekly deep-tissue massage, you can instead rely on post-workout static stretching!

3.On off days- Unsure what to do on your day off? Well, think of your rest day as the time when you are actively recovering. Recovery practices like stretching are perfect to prime your musculature for your next training cycle. On your next day off, try doing some light cardio for 20-30 minutes, followed by a full-body stretching routine!

Take-Home Message

Contrary to popular belief, you don't really need to stretch your muscles prior to a heavy workout.

Even more so, this is counter-productive and may increase the chance of injury, besides robbing you of performance. Flex your muscles before a workout, stretch them after a workout and implement stretching sessions on off days to aid recovery!

So, is stretching for you? Are you looking for a full body stretching routine to learn how to stretch better or how to stretch properly? What about increasing you flexibility or just relaxing your body and mind? We got you covered. Try a Noga Relax class for FREE- Meditation for the Muscles here.

Bonus: Are you a fitness professional looking to add a Stretch Program to your offerings, or how about new to the fitness field and you're looking to start with a Yin Yoga program? Try our Noga Relax Online Training . Learn 27 stretches, how to perform, how to teach, how to modify and advance, plus, how to evolve them. This is a self paced learning online instructor training that will bring value to your career for years to come.

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