Stretching benefits

7th August 2023


“I have been told that you should stretch before exercising. How important is stretching and what are the benefits?”

There is some debate out there about the usefulness of stretching and injury prevention, and the jury is still our on this. In my opinion, if there is a significant decrease in flexibility of a muscle or joint, then the effectiveness of your exercise will be compromise and you’re at a greater chance of injury. In this case, you should get yourself checked out by a professional who understands sport. A Sports Physician or Sports Physiotherapist are good examples.

That aside, stretching is a healthy way of maintaining good muscle integrity, especially if you are exercising regularly. 


What to do:

Set up is important. The easiest way to execute a stretch is to lengthen the desired muscle to the first point of resistance. Hold it for about 30-45 seconds and repeat about 4-6 times. This can be done up to 2-3 times per day


What not to do:

Do not bounce into/out of a stretch. This is known as ballistic stretching and should be left to the advanced athlete. There is a high chance of injury if performed too forcefully and incorrectly. 


Be patient!

Getting a change to a muscle length takes time. Everyone is different, but you should notice a sustainable change within a couple of weeks. Depending on your goal, you will need to continue stretching on a consistent basis.


Final word

Stretching when a muscle is warm will increase the effectiveness of a stretch. Performing this for 5-10 minutes after an exercise session will allow for this, and may even help with delaying post exercise muscle soreness.