Is Stretching Important
Do You Really Need A Stretching Routine?
Stretching has long played an important role in the world of sport and fitness, with many athletes stretching religiously before and after exercise in hopes of preventing injuries.
Lately, this practice has been called into question with many people wondering if stretching really makes a difference to athletic performance. The answer, like most things, is not black and white, as we explore a little in this article.
A brief introduction to stretching.
Stretching is a type of movement that increases flexibility by lengthening muscle fibres to the end of their range. Stretching before and after exercise has been thought to reduce the risk of injury, improve athletic performance and reduce muscle soreness after exercise.
The two most common types of stretching are static and dynamic stretching. Static stretching is when you lengthen your muscle and then hold that position for a period of time. Dynamic stretching uses movement and momentum of the body to stretch muscles to their end range, without holding the stretch at the end.
What does the research say about Stretching?
Some research has suggested that static stretching before an activity can actually reduce power, strength and performance. However, these reductions were shown to be minimal and not noticed at all if the stretches were held for less than 45 seconds.
It has also been found that stretching does improve flexibility but only for a short period of time. A few minutes after stretching, your joints move further, and with less resistance, so you may have improved flexibility immediately after stretching.
Why stretch at all?
One thing that is undeniable is that stretching feels great, with many people feeling more relaxed and reporting a rush of endorphins after a good stretching session. It is also difficult to test the long-term effects of stretching specific muscles showing abnormal tightness. A long-term static stretching routine will improve your overall flexibility, and this is thought to help prevent injuries, although the evidence is inconclusive.
If you’re an athlete, the decision to stretch or not can be a personal one. A warm-up prior to intense exercise that includes some form of dynamic stretching is generally recommended for reducing injury risk, but of course is no guarantee. Strength and balance training may have a far greater impact on reducing injuries in the long term.
Your physiotherapist is able to guide you on the best stretching advice for your individual activity and they may be able to identify some areas where improving your flexibility will help to reduce injuries and improve performance.
None of the information in this article is a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a medical professional for advice on your individual injury.
More From The Blog
The latest news, commentary and recipes from the team at Action Sports Clinic.
Haloumi, Blueberry and Watermelon SaladIngredients 200g Fresh Haloumi ¼ Seedless Watermelon 100g Fresh Blueberries 1 Handful of Fresh Mint Leaves 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil 1 Tbsp. Balsamic GlazeInstructions 1. Place a frying pan on medium heat and add 1 Tbsp. of olive oil....
Can Poor Balance Lead To Ankle Sprains?Ankle sprains are one of the most common sporting injuries... Ankle sprains are one of the most common sporting injuries and most people have experienced one at least once in their lifetime. While they are common, this...
Fibromyalgia What Is It? Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterised by widespread pain throughout the body along with fatigue, memory problems, sleep and mood disorders. Sufferers of fibromyalgia often spend years trying to find a diagnosis that fits their many...
Billy Wu ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Awesome physiotherapists. Have my long-term health in mind when offering treatment plans. Very patient in explaining my issues. Great support staff, responsive to schedule changes and inquiries.
Jen Scheerschmidt ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Initial Assessment went well. Office was busy but staff were attentive and on the ball. Dr. Rennick was gentle and adjusted my back well. I will be back for another appointment.
Morgan Tarves ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I attend Action Sports Clinic to see my physiotherapist - Darra. Darra is very knowledgeable, attentive, and truly knows his sports medicine. I would highly recommend Darra to anyone who has a sports injury or is in need of physiotherapy. The front desk staff are very friendly and helpful, and are able to answer all of my questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What services do you offer?
We specialize in the practice of Sports Medicine and provide services related to Sports Therapy, Chiropractic Care, Physical Therapy, Massage as well as off the shelf and custom Prosthetics & Orthotics.
Do I need an appointment?
Yes! We take pride in personal service and being very accomodating. Please click any of our Appointment Buttons and submit your information, we will be in touch to confirm your date and time.
Where is your office located?
We are located in downtown Calgary at 639 – 5th Ave SW – Suite 130. Easy street access right across 5th Avenue from Tim Hortons. Limited customer parking available at rear of building.
What are the office hours?
We are open Monday – Friday from 7:00 am until 5:00 pm.
Do I need a referral from my physician?
No, a referral is not required to schedule an appointment.
Do you provide custom brace solutions?
Yes, Dr. Rennick is qualified by the world’s top orthoepedic brands to develop custom bracing solutions for many conditions.
What Brands does Action Sports Clinic Carry?
We carry brands from the worlds top manufacturers including Donjoy, Össur, CTi, Bauerfeind, Thuasne and more.