Stretching; Good, bad or misunderstood or just unnecessary. A NY Times article explores the ritual.
As many of our patients know, I am not a proponent of stretching for adults or older kids as a warm up prior to exercise. For those of us who have good body styles and good body mechanics, we just do not get tight. Unfortunately, many of us are blessed with asymmetrical body styles that make us feel tight, attribute to injuries as we become active. These same traits also fill chiropractors offices with patients to treat (90 percent of our clientele have asymmetry issues as a main part of why they hurt).
Typically, I recommend stretching in young children because it does enhance flexibility. Perhaps, this is why the best gymnasts, dancers, runners with the best flexibility start when they are very young and stretching helps during the initial growth years. Later on, stretching is helpful after activity, while tissue are healing from the impact we place upon them. Most studies suggest (check out the out of print book Total Body Training if you can find it) stretching is best after activity. Actually, using rollers which is a crude form of fascial release works well prior to activities. These are inexpensive, available in many sizes and many running stores and on line stores carry them. Many runners use something called the stick which also does this but is more convenient.
Back on track, the article gives you a good history of stretching and gives you some basic scientific pro’s and cons. My recommendations are more finite, however, I draw from experience. Please read the article below;
Is it time, once again, to stretch? For decades, many of us stretched before a workout, usually by reaching toward our toes or leaning against a wall to elongate our hamstrings, then holding that pose without moving until it felt uncomfortable, a technique known as static stretching. Most people, including scientists and entire generations of elementary-school P.E. teachers, believed that static stretching lengthened muscles and increased flexibility, making people better able to perform athletically. Read the rest of the article here