Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Skip the Stretch for a Better Workout

Source: MSNBC (Summary by NIM)

We've all heard about the importance of stretching before and after workouts in order to prevent injury, but some researchers believe that this act may in fact be counter-productive and might promote injury.

Sometimes, the actions that we think are stretching our muscles are actually tightening them - for example bending over to touch our toes. Think about it - if you've ever watched or partaken in a yoga class, you would notice that similar motions are used to actually tone and tighten the muscles!

Cold, stiff muscles are far more prone to being pulled or torn than those which have been warmed up. Experts compare this to stretching a cold rubber band to it's maximum. While it is true that stretching helps to lengthen and relax muscles and also protect joints, this only really works if muscles are already warmed up. Otherwise, stretching acts just like any other form or strenuous activity and can damage our tissues.

So what can you do? Try walking or lightly jogging to warm your muscles up so you can move more freely and prevent injuring yourself when you actually engage in exercising.

Find out more by reading the article called "Want a better workout? Don't stretch before" from MSNBC (Apr. 15, 2010).