There are two schools of thought when it comes to stretching after sport: one shouts from the rooftops that it is essential after physical effort, while the other claims that it's a complete waste of time and that the movements are absolutely useless. Who should we believe? Let's try to understand by comparing the two cases.
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It's Important to Stretch After Sport
To stay supple
If you are incapable of touching your toes when standing, then stretching would be very beneficial to you. Regular stretching leads to better flexibility, and as result, better performance when you do sport. For example, for weight training, supple muscles are more efficient and will become stronger with time.
To slow your body down
Another advantage of stretching after sport: your body needs to slow down with calm movements. After intensive physical activity, such as a competition or race, it is important to take time to slow down and rest your muscles. By stretching, you give your body essential calm time: take 15 to 20 minutes, breath slowly and enjoy!
Don't Stretch After Doing Sport
Because it doesn't prevent stiffness
Contrary to widespread preconceived ideas, stretching does not prevent stiffness in the days after intense physical effort. So there you go. When you are stiff, the muscle fibre is torn, quite literally. There is no miracle solution for repairing them: only time, heat and massages. It seems logical when you write it down, but stretching a torn muscle will not magically repair it.
Because you may injure yourself
Let me be clear...and perhaps a bit annoying, but it's for your own good: few people know how to stretch properly. And if you stretch infrequently and incorrectly, you may even cause yourself injury. It's important to understand that stretching anaesthetises the muscle: so you risk going beyond your pain threshold and injuring yourself.
Because it slows the blood flow
Another preconceived idea that requires correction: stretching does not eliminate waste from your blood vessels. Quite the contrary! When you stretch, your blood vessels are compressed, so logically, this prevents your muscles from regenerating after physical effort. So, by stretching, you do yourself more harm than good.
I hope you understand. You have to listen to your body. Stretching is a good way to slow your body down, but in no way does it prevent muscle stiffness, However intense.
If you want to stretch after doing sport, here are some tips:
Hold the position between 15 and 30 seconds, breath slowly and don't move.
Stretching is an essential part of football and a widely debated topic. As a result, many popular misconceptions have arisen, which we'll now try to clear up by focusing on one question: WHEN should you stretch?