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Stretching Alone Is A Band-Aid Fix

Written by: Karla Bosnar, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Karla Bosnar

To stretch or not to stretch? There is nothing wrong with stretching but it’s about knowing when to use it and when to not, and yes, this matters.

Woman doing a stretching.

If you’re working on improving your flexibility, then by all means stretch! If you enjoy it and find it relaxing at the end of a workout, then again, go for it!

Many people stretch muscles that feel chronically tight. They stretch and stretch in an attempt to improve their muscle length and generally don’t see lasting improvement. Static stretching does not actually increase the length of our muscles like many people think. It does improve is range of motion around a joint, but does so by increasing your tolerance to the “uncomfortable” stretch sensation.

If the goal is to improve flexibility, to be able to move better, then to get more out of it, you can add in some breath work. When you can comfortably breathe in a certain position then you know you have access to that range, you're able to easily get in and out of that position and this is what it’s about, giving your body more movement options! Adding in some breath work to your stretching also helps you get in a parasympathetic state (think rest and digest) and also improves rib cage mobility, something that is often overlooked when compared to shoulder and hip mobility.

What you should be doing though, is combining this with strength training! You get strong in the ranges and positions you train in, so training ‘strength through length’ is how you maintain this flexibility. Give your body a reason to maintain those ranges.

Many people will also stretch in the hopes of improving muscle soreness, however research shows that it does not actually help reduce any delayed onset muscle soreness you may get from training.

Another common misconception is that when you’re feeling stiff and tight, stretching is the answer, however this is only a temporary “fix”. Stretching alone is not going to help. A good question to ask is why you’re feeling stiff and tight? What could be causing it?

“A tight muscle is a weak muscle” has been going around alot lately, but this statement is too generalised. Isolated strength would help if it was a tendon issue or a joint pain issue, however if it was chronic muscle tightness you would want to consider things like joint position and movement.

And finally, stretching and injuries!

There is research to show that static stretching may help with reducing the risk of injury, however, you need to take caution when stretching if you’ve already sustained an injury. When it comes to tendons, tendons do not like to be stretched, they require load. If you’ve strained a muscle, gentle range of motion or gentle stretches can be great, but any excessive or aggressive stretching could actually make your injury worse!

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Karla Bosnar Brainz Magazine

Karla Bosnar, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Karla Bosnar is a mum and business owner. She is an online exercise physiologist who has a unique approach that combines evidence based training, nutrition for fat loss and mindset work, with 11 years of experience. Karla grew up playing tennis, loves the outdoors, and is passionate about creating programs that get women strong, powerful and resilient! She has battled through her own disordered eating and found true food and body freedom. Faith and family are important values! Movement mastery, body transformation and mindset work! Karla has seen women break through their barriers and achieve their full potential through this work. She created a life she truly loves and wants the same for other women.



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