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Warming Up Before Exercise: Is Muscle Stretching Harmful Before Exercise?
Regular exercise is healthy and helps, among other things, to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. For many athletes, it is normal to stretch their muscles before training. But does that really make sense? Or even harmful?
Regular exercise is healthy
Experts agree that regular exercise is healthy and, among other things, help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure or heart attack. In addition, athletes are less likely to suffer from overweight or obesity.
When it comes to stretching, however, there is no consensus among experts - some believe that stretching before exercise makes sense and that muscle soreness can be prevented by stretching. Others contradict such theses.
Does stretching harm before training?
While it is known that stretching is important for the motor function of muscles and tendons, it can often be heard that stretching does more harm than protection before training. But is that really true?
The sports physician Prof. Hans-Georg Predel from the Cologne Sports University said in a message from the news agency dpa: "Stretching that also deserves the name should best be done after a short warm-up phase and then after training."
Increased joint range increases the risk of injury
Extensive stretching before the actual training increases the range of the joints. As a result, some athletes only injure themselves more quickly because there is no tension in the muscles and tendons. According to the expert, this loss can even reduce athletic performance, for example when it comes to disciplines with strength or speed.
In a previous report, Predel's colleague Prof. Ingo Froböse pointed out that stretching is even counterproductive in some sports and that it is usually enough to warm up to do the movement typical of the sport slowly and with low intensity. For example, when jogging you should just walk a little more quietly for the first five minutes.
Never stretch the cold muscle
According to sports scientists, you should generally never stretch the cold muscle. However, a few stretching exercises before training are okay if a short warm-up program has been completed beforehand. After exercising, the muscles are warmed up properly, then according to experts it can also be an extensive stretching program. This promotes blood flow to the muscles and the body becomes more flexible. (ad)