Day 12: A Hint on Stretching
On the twelfth day of FitMas NCHPAD gave to you...a hint about stretching to keep you nice and loose!
By: Kelly Bonner
I am sure all of us remember starting off every P.E. class or sport practice by stretching. We stood in lines, counted out loud, and performed all the movements in succession. Just like trends and fashions, things change along with recommendations regarding stretching. Studies have found there is no benefit to stretching beforehand and it might even be detrimental. Instead, the current American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommendations include warming up first. So, if you are about to do a cardio workout, start with a less intense version of the workout for your warm up. If you are about to lift weights, start with a few minutes on an arm or leg bike.
After your workout is over you can cool off with a good stretching routine and always be sure you are stretching a warm muscle.
Here are the ACSM’s current recommendations:
- Adults should do flexibility exercises at least two or three days each week to improve range of motion.
- Each stretch should be held for 10-30 seconds to the point of tightness or slight discomfort.
- Repeat each stretch two to four times, accumulating 60 seconds per stretch.
- Static, dynamic, ballistic and PNF stretches are all effective.
- Flexibility exercise is most effective when the muscle is warm. Try light aerobic activity or a hot bath to warm the muscles before stretching.