Stretching is a good idea, according to the the American College of Sports Medicine, as it keeps you flexible and able to move better. If your posture is a problem, make stretching a routine to stretch the afflicted muscles regularly. If you suffer from back pain due to sitting all day, utilizing stretches that reverse that posture may be beneficial.
According to exercise physiologist Mike Bracko, trying the "Standing Cat-Camel" may be helpful as a work-related back stretch. In order to do this stretch, you must:
- Stand with you feet shoulder-width apart and knees bent slightly.
- Lean forward, placing your hands just above your knees.
- Round your back so that your chest is closed and your shoulders are curved forward.
- Then arch your back so that your chest opens and your shoulders roll back.
- Repeat many times.
Holding a stretch is not necessary to get the benefit. A stretch that is held is also known as a static stretch. There is no harm in stretching this way as long as there is no pain.
Studies suggest, however, that a dynamic stretch like the Standing Cat-Camel may be just as effective and sometimes better.
Stretching before exercise is not necessarily beneficial. Performing static stretches before exercise may worsen performance when doing activities like sprinting. Holding static stretches tire out your muscles.
Instead warming up with dynamic stretches are recommended. Dynamic stretches are like an extension of your workout but at a lower intensity. A recommended warm-up may be a brisk walk, walking lunges, leg swings, and high steps.
Stretching after exercise is an optimal time to stretch. After exercise, people are more flexible due to the increased circulation to muscles and joints. If you use static stretches, this is the time to do them as you will get the most benefit from them now.
It is not crucial that you stretch before or after a workout. It is just important that you stretch at some point in time. This can be when you get out of bed or during breaks at work. Stretching should be a part of a regular routine.