Stretching is usually incorporated into our daily exercise routine, but there are a few misconceptions about stretching that everyone makes. Here are 5 myths about stretching that everyone makes:
Always stretch before your workout
Fact: Only do dynamic stretching before your workout. There are two main forms of stretching: static (holding stretches while your body is at rest) and dynamic (stretching while your body is in motion. Prior to a workout, dynamic stretching prepares your muscles to work and increases their core temperature. On the other hand, static stretching lowers the elasticity of the muscles, making it a poor way to prepare for a big bout of activity.
Stretching prevents muscle soreness
Fact: Stretching does not reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness, using a foam roller may work better. A 2011 meta-analysis found that stretching "does not produce clinically important reductions in delayed-onset muscle soreness in healthy adults." In short, the jury's out as to how much stretching helps reduce soreness.
Stretching makes a muscle longer
Fact: Stretching is not a means of mechanical tissue change. Functional muscle length is dependent on neurological tone, not mechanical alteration in tissue. There's little, if any, mechanical change in soft tissues through the practice of stretching or foam rolling.
Stretching is always healthy
Fact: This isn't true, and you have to be very careful about stretching a muscle without a proper warmup. Stretching a cold muscle will give you far less of a benefit, and it can actually be dangerous. So next time you're going to stretch, make sure you squeeze in a light warmup first.
I'm already flexible, so there's no need to for me to stretch
Fact: Stick to stretching even once flexibility goals are achieved. Dynamic stretching and warming up are still important for everyone in order to increase blood flow to muscles. And remember, skipping out on stretching might also decrease flexibility over time.