It’s a miracle-you really have one hour of spare time ahead of you in which you can finally get that exercise in you’ve been promising yourself you would do. Your first tendency might be to jump on the treadmill and take off, burning calories as fast as your legs can go. However, research indicates that if you don’t stretch first, you risk of injury is dramatically higher than the risk of those who do stretch. In fact, according to Reuters, “experts say . . . stretching will help you hone your performance, prevent injury, perk up your posture and even boost your mood.”
Stretching: An important part of your workout routine
Two ways to stretch
Stretching doesn’t have to take up your whole workout time-just try to fit in at least five minutes of stretching before and after your workout. There are two types of stretching to select from, according to Reuters, who explains, “A static stretch is essentially a stretch held in one position; dynamic stretching involves active movements.” For instance, a static stretch could be a toe touch held for 30 seconds while a dynamic exercise may be jumping jacks.
How to stretch safely
A word of caution for your stretching: don’t push your body too far. Jessica Mathews of the American Council on Exercise claims for stretches to be “safe and effective, they should be held only to the point of tension-never to the point of pain.” And when you do your static stretching, do not bounce, says the Mayo Clinic, this can trigger small tears inside your muscles which will lead to further stiffness. And for those who have any injuries or chronic pain, talk to your doctor about what stretches would be best for you.