Heartland Tips for 2020: Stay Stretching

There are a lot of myths when it comes to stretching, and a lot of them happen to be false. But do you even need to stretch?

Getting older, staying flexible

It’s certainly not a bad idea. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends stretching each major muscle group twice per week per 60 minutes of exercise. And it doesn’t just feel good, it keeps you flexible as you age, which is generally a good idea.

If there are any daily activities that cause aches or pains, it’s a good idea to stretch the affected areas of your body. Remember that you can stretch almost anywhere. Weave it into your daily routine, like when you wake up, before bed or at work during breaks.

No pain, more gain.

You don’t necessarily need to hold a stretch for a long time to see a benefit, though it certainly isn’t a bad idea as long as you don’t hold it until it hurts. In fact, that’s true for just about any stretch: make sure that no matter what, you can feel the stretch, but don’t go so far that it starts to hurt.

You also don’t always need to stretch before you exercise, as it’s not been proven to help performance, reduce injury or curb muscle soreness. In fact, static stretching before exercise can actually hurt your performance, since it weakens muscles.

Instead of stretching before your workout, try more dynamic warm ups like a brink walk before a run, or high kicks before a leg workout. It’s much more beneficial to stretch after your workout.