Wednesday, October 24, 2018

When Should You Stretch?

Stretching, Sports, Woman, Athlete When I was growing up, I hated P.E.  I wasn't the most coordinated and I always had the instructor who made us stretch at the beginning of the hour, before we did the rest of it.  I was the one who couldn't touch my toes because I didn't bend the same way as others.

Recently, I've noticed the people on my exercise videos recommend stretching at the end, rather than at the beginning. 

I'm sure you grew up hearing the same things I did about stretching but what is the truth?  The American College of Sports Medicine recommends people stretch the major muscle groups for at least 60 seconds each.  This should be done at least twice a week.

In addition, the stretching helps keep a person flexible which is important as a person grows older.  There is current research to suggest that stretching a muscle to its full extent for 30 seconds is considered a static stretch and may not be as effective as a dynamic one.

By dynamic, I mean is a stretch that moves the muscle group through a full range of motion. This type of stretch is considered better if you have not really warmed up yet.  Furthermore, choosing a static stretch before warming up can actually weaken your performance because holding the muscles still can tire your muscles out.

A better time to exercise is after your workout because you are more flexible due to increased circulation to hips and other joints.  If you are into static stretches, this is a more appropriate time for them because its considered safer.

If you want to stretch muscles out without going through a proper workout, it is recommended you walk around for  5 minutes or so to actually warm your body up a bit.  This gets your heart beating, raises your core temperature and pumps blood into your major muscle groups so they are ready.

It is important to save the more aggressive form off stretching for the end of a workout when you are fully warmed up.  When the workout is finished, walk a bit to help your heart return to normal, before spending 10 minutes stretching.

If you want to stretch without doing a full exercise session, move around a bit, then carry out a set of dynamic stretches to warm up all the muscle groups.  I tend to stretch at the end of my workout sessions because I save most of my workouts for after work.  I use them as a way of getting rid of my stress I accumulate during the day.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.


  1. Hi Lee. I laughed at your description of PE class. I was the same! I do my serious stretching after a workout. I do take stretch breaks during my work day. Perhaps I will walk around the building first from now on, just to make sure my muscles are at least a little warm. I found this post on the Bloggers Pit Stop.

    1. Thank you for checking it out. I think if we were not the "Athletic types" we weren't into PE.