Ask Well: Do We Need to Stretch?
If stretching before exercise is of questionable benefit, is there any time that stretching is beneficial? The Phys Ed columnist Gretchen Reynolds responds to readers’ questions.
We know that stretching before exercise tends to be counterproductive because in loosening muscles, it also temporarily weakens them. But whether you should stretch at other times — after exercise, for instance, or first thing in the morning or just before bed — is murkier, in part because studies of stretching have not been standardized.
Some have had young, healthy volunteers stretch for 20 minutes or more, others for 5 minutes or less. Still others have used older, stiffer volunteers or people with existing injuries. Not surprisingly, the results have been inconsistent. Even within the same study, people respond quite differently to stretching, with some showing increased flexibility and others not.
See on well.blogs.nytimes.com