The idea that you should stretch before working out is a myth. Known as “static stretching,” this type of exercise has not been shown to prevent injury, and can actually reduce the benefits you receive from working out by tiring the muscles before you’ve had a chance to use them.
However, stretching itself is considered highly beneficial. Stretching can improve flexibility, increase strength, and can play a role in reducing muscle soreness after exercise. You simply have to stretch after exercise, not before it.
The Value of Stretching to Avoid Back Pain
Any time you play sports or go to the gym you are putting pressure on your muscles. For those prone to back pain, exercise can cause both aching and sharp pain in your upper and lower back because of that pressure, which wears out muscles and can damage the spine.
But stretching can help reduce back pain, especially if you stretch right after a workout. That is because stretching has many potential benefits for your back and muscles, including:
- Resetting Muscles – When you exercise, you’re contracting your muscles and “ripping” them in a way that will heal into larger and stronger muscles in the future. But right after a workout, your muscles are often left in a tight, shortened state. Stretching the muscles brings them back to their natural position, which allows them to move freely with less discomfort.
- Improving Circulation – Stretching after exercise may help improve circulation to your muscles and tissues, which may speed up recovery and healing while also relaxing the muscles.
- Mindfulness of Pain – It’s not uncommon to make “accidental adjustments” to the way you sit, stand, or walk because of muscle discomfort or tight muscles. But these added adjustments can put extra pressure on your muscles and spine, increasing pain in the future. Stretching helps you notice and become more mindful of where your pain points are, and try to relax them/reset them so that your posture is not affected.
These are only some of the many benefits that stretching has on your back muscles, spine, posture, and more. Stretching after a workout is a great way to keep your body flexible, healing, and free of significant back discomfort, and should be added to any workout you undertake. If you’re interested in learning more, call Spine Center Atlanta at 404-341-4731, today.