Exercise: stretching help?
Stretching before exercise or exercise may not improve performance or reduce the chance of injury.
Touch your toes. To the sky. Twist from side to side.
If you’ve ever been in a sports team or a gym class, you probably know the drill. First, you do some warm-up. And then you stretch. The exercises and activities are as follows. At the end of the class or practice, you’ll do more.
For decades, coaches and gym teachers have insisted that stretching helps athletes perform better, hurt less and get fewer injuries the next day. From fitness clubs to soccer fields to gym MATS, it’s everywhere.
Now, studies have shown that stretching may not be the way people think you are. Researchers at the U.S. centers for disease control and prevention (CDC), who evaluated more than 350 scientific studies, found that stretching may not reduce the chance of injury.
Stephen Thacker said: “there is not enough evidence to prove that stretching is effective. He is the director of the epidemiology program at the centers for disease control and prevention in Atlanta.
If you’re doing well, don’t rely on stretching to help you run faster, jump higher, or throw the ball further. Some studies have shown that stretching may slow you down, especially if you do this before doing exercise.
Now, stretching may make you more vulnerable, Stacy Ingraham says.
Ingram is an exercise physiologist at the university of Minnesota twin cities. Her research focuses on the harms of women and women, who are often more likely than men to damage muscles and joints.
“Some athletes have been stretching,” says Ingraham. “They are the ones who are often hurt.”
Ingraham pointed to professional baseball players as an example. She said they did well before the game. However, baseball players have the highest rate of injury in any sport. The Minnesota twins goalkeeper, Torii Hunter, tore his hamstring in the first game of the season.
Thacker noticed a similar pattern. He coaches a high school girl’s basketball team. During his first five years in charge, six girls tore ACL, a ligament that connects the thigh and calf, and stabilized the knee. Three years ago, Mr. Sackel took his place with specific exercises and warm-up exercises, such as jogging and avoidance. Since then, the team has not been injured.
Understanding why stretching may be a bad idea helps to understand how muscles work.
It all starts with the brain’s command. Special cells called neurons transmit electrical information from the brain to the muscles you want to activate through the nervous system. If you’re running, your brain will tell your legs to move and your arms twitch. As soon as the news reaches the target, the muscles react. You’re cruising.
The skeletal muscle is the kind that attaches to the bone. They do most of the work when they exercise. Skeletal muscles are made up of long, twisted cells called fibers. Protein in the fiber helps your muscles contract and relax. These muscle movements make you run, jump, jump, throw frisbee, swim, etc.
When you stretch, you stretch the muscle fibers. Then, information from the brain takes longer to pass through them. Stretched muscles seem to be slower than unstretched ones. They don’t bounce back easily. Whenever you stretch, you may tear your muscle fibers a little.
Experts say stretching before exercise is especially dangerous because the muscles that stretch are not very stable. This makes it difficult for them to bounce back from the shock of running, jumping or weaving from other players on the football field.
Experts advise slowly starting to warm up, allowing blood and oxygen to flow to your muscles instead of stretching before the activity. Preheating is also a natural way to get your muscles well-trained and ready for more intense activity.
“If you play football, you can go for a jog,” says Thacker. “If you play baseball, swing it before the game.”
Children don’t get hurt as often as adults because they don’t put the same pressure on their joints, says Thacker. However, it is never too early to develop good habits.
Girls, in particular, have reason to worry. Among high school athletes, girls are three times more likely than boys to tear acls on their knees. When they reach professional levels, says Ingraham, women have 10 times more acls than men.
Girls also hurt their ankles and their backs more often than boys. Scientists aren’t sure what caused the difference, but girls tend to be more flexible than boys, says Ingraham. Her research suggests that this extra flexibility may be part of the problem. Stretching just makes things worse.
It might be worth discussing stretching with your coach and your PE teacher.
But don’t worry if they insist you keep stretching, says fitness expert jay blahnik. He wrote a book called “general flexibility.”
In some cases, says Blahnik, gentle stretching may help, as long as you do the right stretch at the right time and do it right.
Instead of grabbing your ankles or squeezing your body into pretzels, he suggests that you use your muscles actively.
Try to squeeze your hands behind your head, suggests Blahnik. Then slowly pull the elbows back together and squeeze your shoulder blades together. “Stretching does not reduce harm, but we think mobility and flexibility do,” he said.
As part of the cooling time after exercise, Blahnik says, gentle stretching is also acceptable. Moreover, for gymnastics, dancing and other sports, a stronger stretch may be appropriate.
In general, getting ready for exercise or exercise should involve a variety of activities, not just stretching. Athletes, coaches, coaches and others need to use strength training, conditioning and warm-up combinations, which is best for a sport.
Whatever stretch you decide to do, don’t stop exercising. Research continues to show that exercise is good for your heart, good for your bones, and good for your muscles. It can help you sleep better and control your weight. It’s fun to run around. It can even make you smarter.