Stretching a point

Many people take it for granted that they should start their exercise routines with some stretching on the spot, hoping it will loosen them up for their work-out.

However, many fitness experts now agree this kind of static stretching before exercise is not just counter-productive, but potentially harmful.

Traditional stretches, such as people bending over to touch their toes or stretch their legs on a fence, often cause the muscles to tighten rather than relax which is the exact opposite of what is needed for physical activity.

Experts say it is like extending a rubber band to its limit. When people stretch to the maximum, they are more likely to pull a muscle.

Instead of stretching, many sports scientists recommend warming up with a light jog or sport-specific exercise, like kicking a football or a few tennis serves. That type of light movement increases the heart rate and blood flow to the muscles, warming up the body temperature.

But the message has yet to trickle down to legions of joggers and recreational athletes who continue to practice classic, old-school stretching and it’s going to be very hard to convince people to start doing something different.

Source: Daily Telegraph
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