Stretching is a critical part of working out. Not only does it help to loosen your joints and prevent injury, but it also balances the mechanics of your body and substantially increases your flexibility.
Studies have shown that most people tend to stretch before exercising. However, experts agree that you should be incorporating both pre and post workout stretches into your everyday fitness routine.
In this article, we explain the differences between the two and discuss why they are equally important as each other:
PRE-WORKOUT STRETCHING (WARMING UP)
Stretching before a workout prepares your muscles, joints and connective tissues for the physical labour they are about to endure.
This type of stretching has been dubbed “warming up” for a reason – it helps increase your core temperature, making it easier for your muscles to perform.
It also awakens your nervous system, which tells your body it’s time to get moving! This has a roll-on effect on your heart rate and coordination skills and kickstarts all of your core muscle groups. Pretty cool, huh?
Pre-workout stretching should consist of ‘dynamic’ movements.
POST-WORKOUT STRETCHING (COOLING DOWN)
Your muscles are usually quite stiff after you’ve finished your fitness routine – and there’s nothing worse than attempting to drive home with the fear of cramping lingering in the back of your mind.
Post-workout stretching focuses on lengthening and loosening your muscles to cool your body back down again. Even if only for five minutes, stretching is an essential step in the relaxation time that follows a training session.
Post-workout stretching should consist of ‘static’ movements.