Logan Williams, Staff Writer
Most people in college are young and they tend to think of their bodies as invincible. That is why when I ask fellow students if they stretch before working out, some of them shake their head saying no.
Often, my friends go to the gym and workout without stretching. The next day I see them and they are in all sorts of pain. They think it’s good, the pain signifying a good workout. Where they are mistaken is in thinking that is the only reason they are sore. In fact, without properly warming up before a workout, and cooling down after a workout, most of the post workout soreness is that of muscle tears caused by working out on a cold body, or lactic acid stuck in muscles because it wasn’t pushed out in a post workout stretch.
So why don’t people stretch? “It is lame to stretch. It is what old people do. When you’re young, you don’t have to stretch. I don’t like doing it because it is boring. It takes too much time!”
When I say stretching, what comes to mind? Sitting on the ground, bending over, and touching your toes? That is called static stretching. In the realm of science, we have learned that static stretching is not good to perform before physical activity. Doing static stretches before working out or participating in sports has actually been linked to an increase in injury. The reason being, the muscles are cold and instead of gradually warming them up, giving them greater elasticity, they are stretched to the max. Of course, when a muscle is cold, it is more susceptible to tears, and flexibility drastically lowers. This allows muscles to be stretched past their limits in a hurry.
The more beneficial type of stretching is dynamic stretching. In this form of stretching, a person stretches muscles while moving. The muscles are gradually stretched, and the moving aspect gets blood flowing to the muscles, thus warming them up. Furthermore, dynamic stretching uses sports-specific movements that can get the body ready for performance. Likewise, exercise-specific dynamic stretches can get a person ready for a workout.
Not all stretching is boring, where you sit on the ground and go through the motions. It can be jumping jacks, lunges, butt kicks, and a range of other active movements that are far more enjoyable than sitting and stretching.
As for post-workout, this is the time for static stretching. Static stretching allows the muscles to stretch fully, pushing toxins out. Then when a stretch is released, blood flows out of the muscles and back around the body. This squeeze-release technique allows the ridding of waste products caused by lack of oxygen, which prevents soreness.
Nobody is too young to see the benefits of stretching. It doesn’t take long, and it saves your body in the long run. It’s not lame. You know what is? Injuries.