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The Truth About Stretching…Again

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Trends about how to get abs frequently end up on the nightly news or on the front page of USA Today. Fast weight loss diets and exercises are eagerly gobbled up by the media and the public.

But for the past 10 years, a much more important and pivotal advancement has been made in fitness, which almost nobody knows about. It has to do with something called dynamic stretching.

Stretching is like putting oil in your car before driving. But most people skip over it when exercising, or do it the wrong way, which is why so many people continue to get injured while exercising.

The stretching that most people are used to is known as static stretching. You know, touching your toes and holding it for 30 seconds. But for the past decade, studies by medical professionals have concluded that this kind of static stretching actually inhibits the nervous system and causes muscles to shut down before a workout. In short, regular stretching before exercising tells your body to wind down instead of warming up.

Instead, pro athletes prepare for their workouts with dynamic stretching. These are moving stretches that activate and warm up the muscles while simultaneously lengthening them.

About every six months, since the mid 2000s, an article gets published on MSBC.com or some other major news site about how old-style stretching is bad for you. There was a recent article on Fox News about the topic. Unfortunately, these articles are treated more as “interesting, quirky” news items than solid medical information. None of these articles or news stories makes it to the front page. It isn’t considered important news by a culture that chases fad diets and pops pills to mask deep health problems.

Hopefully, someday the public will start to listen more seriously to news about the dynamic warmup. Dynamic stretching has been proven to decrease the likelihood of injury, increase explosiveness in muscles, and boost overall athletic performance. People looking to optimize their performance and keep themselves safe as they get older should definitely investigate dynamic stretching.

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