Should be about 10-15 minutes before and/or after. National Academy of Sports Medicine Your stretching routine may take 5-10 minutes depending on the number of muscles being stretched. I never, ever feel properly cooled down or stretched, so why stick around and deal with a crowded locker room? Stretching is an important part of an exercise. Dynamic or active stretching uses movement to lengthen muscles and get your blood flowing. This is especially important if you spend a lot of time sitting or have a sedentary lifestyle. Your muscles may spasm a bit in the beginning, but this is natural, especially if you’re not used to stretching. Whether you run on an empty stomach or have a snack beforehand is really up to you. With that information, you can determine how your body responds and make adjustments accordingly. You may wonder how long to hold a stretch, how often you should stretch, and when’s the best time to stretch. Be careful if stretching could interfere with your injuries or health conditions, and take time to fully recover when your body needs a break. "You need to stretch before the muscles have time to cool down, which takes 30-40 minutes," says Jordan D. Metzl, M.D., a doctor of sports medicine at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Use this routine to cool down after a workout to gradually relax, improve flexibility and slow your heart rate. Stretching is almost always a good idea, even if you only have a few minutes. When and How Long Should I Hold a Stretch? She encourages her clients to “allow it to be a meditative experience, disconnect from external distractions such as your phone or the television, and tune into yourself.”. Believe me, I know it's a bad habit that could contribute to painful injuries, but the three minutes my class dedicates to stretching just doesn't seem worth it. Turns out when (and how) you stretch your muscles can make or break your fitness goals. The latest research shows that stretching after your exercise is more effective than before since your muscles are warmed up. However, you also want to make sure you’re not holding the stretch for too long. Regular stretching can increase flexibility and improve your range of motion. Usually, after this point, I relax out of … A comprehensive review found that static stretching, when done alone before working out, led to decreases in strength, power and explosive performance. So … We all know we should do a dynamic warmup before exercising, but many of us hop off the equipment after a workout and head straight to the shower. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. Stretching before a workout is crucial for preventing injury as well as improving performance. New to running? Read on to discover how long and how often you should stretch, how to avoid overstretching, and the many benefits stretching can offer. Most of your stretching should be done after your work out. Runner’s lunge is another excellent stretch for your hamstrings, hip flexors, and quads, and after circuit classes or sprinting exercises, this will go a long way toward keeping you injury free. You can stretch as a part of your warm up every day. of stretching. Make notes about how it feels, if it improved your performance, and any other observations. It’s better to stretch for a short time every day or almost every day instead of stretching for a longer time a few times per week. For example, after a sprint workout on the track, you could jog for about ten minutes, followed by some stretching. Curious if that few minutes is actually enough time to stretch post-workout, I reached out to certified personal trainer and coach at D1 Training, Joel Okaah. When you are doing static stretches, it is important to do them for at least 30 seconds. This article takes a closer look at the ins and outs of stretching. She recommends spending some extra time on an injured or nondominant side to rehabilitate it. Don’t force yourself into any position. As a general rule, go only to your edge and remember it can vary daily. Spend more time on them if you feel the need. After your run, try some slow, deep, static stretches to help your muscles relax. Touch base with a doctor, physical therapist, or fitness professional if you have any specific questions or concerns. Static stretching is typical of many cooldowns, but your instructor can guide you through a series of applicable stretches for the exercises you've just completed. Definitely stay for that quick stretch — and then some. Or maybe you think that touching your toes for a few seconds after a treadmill session is plenty. You’ll feel better mentally and physically, which may inspire you to be more active. How Long to Stretch - what does the research say? "Post-workout, your muscles are warm, making it one of the best times to stretch — so take advantage," he says. Lower back stretch – hold for 15 seconds Lie on your back with both feet flat. There is a lot of information and controversy out there on whether stretching is good or bad for you after a workout. 5–10 minutes of stretching can give you great results and warms up the body which makes muscles and tissues more flexible and ensures that no injury occurs while performing an exercise. While a perfectly symmetrical body isn’t possible, stretching can make your body more balanced, which may improve your posture and reduce your chance of injury. Include a few stretches that you naturally shy away from. 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