Stretching the Truth: Debunking Stretching Myths for Your Workout Routine
During a busy workday, stretching before a workout may be the last thing on your mind. When your schedule fills to the brim, stretching prior to an exercise session may seem like a waste of time, but studies show just how important stretching is for the body and mind. In fact, stretching throughout the day, especially at the workplace, has been proven to reduce stress levels, decrease muscle stiffness and promote overall health so you can work smart and live well.
Ready to debunk more stretching myths? Check out the list below.
Stretching should not be painful.
While stretching may feel slightly uncomfortable at times, you should not experience pain. Physical discomfort during stretching may indicate an underlying health issue or that the stretch is being performed incorrectly. KINETIC classes are led by fitness experts who can provide tips on stretching for better health. Learning techniques from a professional will ensure you get the most out of every workout while adopting healthy habits for everyday living.
If you suspect you have strained a muscle or may be at-risk for a particular injury, be sure to visit your on-site wellness clinic before continuing your workout routine.
Stretching prevents soreness and injury.
Making time for a workout is key for improving mental and physical health, but there’s nothing worse than experiencing muscle soreness and stiffness at the office. Not only are these symptoms uncomfortable, they can also create a disruption in workflow and hinder productivity. Since we were young, we’ve been instructed to stretch to prevent injury, but is this true? Studies have shown the importance of warming up the body before any workout, and stretching is an integral part of this key step. “Dynamic” stretching involves small movements that get the body moving. These stretches, such as rotating the arms in small circles, are a great way to improve circulation, which, in turn, aids soreness and boosts muscle recovery. In addition to preventing soreness and injury, light cardiovascular exercise paired with stretching can get you in the right mindset for an amazing workout.
There’s no need to stretch immediately after a workout.
Think your workout is done once class is over? Think again. If you notice tension in certain muscle groups, stretching after an exercise can provide muscle relief while helping you maintain better posture. From slouching at your desk to staring at the computer, poor posture can become a habit, especially in the office. Slouching and straining are not only detrimental to physical health, they can also affect mental health. Researchers have linked slouching to depression, higher stress levels and poor performance in the workplace. So, if you want to boost mental wellness and enhance physical health, consider stretching after a workout to promote a more aligned and supported posture.
For those who need to make it back to the office ASAP, try doing some light stretching on your way to the car or at your desk. The Runner’s Stretch, Standing Side Stretch and Forward Hang are all simple stretches that engage the entire body while on-the-go.
If you’re already flexible, stretching won’t help.
Whether you can do the splits or barely touch your toes, stretching is beneficial for every level of flexibility. Making stretching part of your daily routine is a great way to maintain flexibility while relaxing tense areas. During the workweek, we spend much of our day sedentary, usually sitting at a desk. This lack of movement causes our muscles to tense up and become stressed during periods of activity. Stretching throughout the day will release these strained muscle groups while balancing and strengthening the body. In addition to enhancing flexibility and muscle strength, stretching can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for slowing down the body. After a stressful day, stretching can rest and relax the body for a more refreshing night's sleep.
Stretching only brings relief to a single muscle group.
The body is made up of a network of muscles that are responsible for movement and support. If you are experiencing back pain, it may be the result of strain on several muscle groups. The beauty of stretching is that it can target a variety of muscles, elongating and strengthening the body on many levels. Yoga practice is one exercise that incorporates full-body stretching. In addition to promoting mental wellness and decreased stress levels, yoga increases the body’s range of motion for greater flexibility.
When you’re on-the-go, the ability to move with strength and ease is important. From decreasing stress levels to promoting a healthy posture, stretching can provide you with the tools you need to feel stronger and healthier.