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When to Stretch and When Not to Stretch

Boston University interviewed three of their fitness experts and overall it comes down to what kind of stretching you’re doing, what your goals are and what kind of exercise you’re about to engage in.

The biggest piece of advice that caught our attention was to not necessarily stretch before exercise, but to stretch in the middle of your work day. Sitting for 8 hours a day at a desk is not ideal.

Another trainer suggests that stretching is more important if you’re trying to work on your flexibility. With that in mind, if you’re a yogi, you might want to start stretching before your yoga session.

Two of the trainers interviewed agreed that if you’re doing a typical gym workout, this is where the type of stretching you do matters. Rather than doing static stretches, such as holding a stretch for half a minute, you’ll want to do dynamic stretching, which is moving stretches that warm your body up. This better prepares your body for exercise.

Types of Dynamic Stretching

What kinds of stretching are considered dynamic? Here are three dynamic stretches for you to try before your next workout.

  • Lunge and Twist – Lunge forward, making sure your knee does not extend past your toes, then twist towards the side lunging forward. Then, do switch and lunge with your opposite leg and twist in that direction.
  • Jump Rope – Easy as it sounds. Just jump rope for a few minutes.
  • Arm Swings – Stand tall, hold your arms out and then swing them from the front of your body to the back for about 30 seconds.

If you’re looking for more ideas there a plenty of suggestions on the internet and videos on YouTube.

Now that you know what kind of stretching you should be doing, why not take your exercise outdoors. Even if it’s a little chilly, it’ll be nice to breathe in the fresh air and get a little Vitamin D. Why not get some friends together for a game of football? Or if you’re more the solo exercise type, go for a run.

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