Why Stretching Is (Still) Important For Weight Loss And Exercise


Published:

There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding the value – or lack thereof – of muscle stretching to accelerate recovery after exercise. “Stretching clears out your lactic acid,” and other similar claims abound. Is any of this true?

Sort of.

First, it is important to understand the difference between stretching for recovery and stretching for remodeling.

Recovery

During exercise, muscles are called upon to work. During this work, fuel is used up, waste products are created and muscle fiber structure is disrupted by multiple micro tears. Imagine a banquet, for comparison, during which the food is eaten, garbage is accumulated (napkins, chicken bones, etc.), and the table settings disrupted. Before the next banquet, the food needs to be restocked, the garbage cleared, and the tables reset.

For muscles, this process of resetting for the next event is called recovery. The muscle is returned to full function without soreness.

This is not the process that leads to body change per se, but it is important for athletes who wish to compete at their highest level multiple times during a short period.

Athletes have tried many things to speed up recovery: cryotherapy, massage, compression, ice water immersion, stretching, hyperbaric oxygen, anti-inflammatories and electromyostimulation, just to name a few. These interventions are aimed at decreasing lactic acid, inflammatory markers and other molecules that build up following intense exercise.

Of these, only massage is consistently effective. Multiple studies have shown that stretching does not aid significantly in waste removal or serve in any capacity to accelerate muscle recovery.

Remodeling

Most of us aren’t training for professional competitions, though, but are exercising to be healthy, lose weight and improve our moods.

For that, we need to focus on our body’s remodeling response to exercise, which is not the same as recovery from exercise.

Plainly said, when we exercise consistently, our bodies adapt to that stressor by changing our muscle structure, metabolism and physiology. It is that change, that remodeling, that leads to all the positive benefits of exercise. To stick with our banquet example, if we realized that 500 people are going to show up at every event, but we only have 10 tables set at present, we would change our capacity to be ready for the next event. We would increase the efficiency in the kitchen and set more tables. Likewise, our body remodels itself to adapt to increasing exercise.

Many studies also have been conducted to determine how to optimize the body’s remodeling response to exercise. After 35-plus years of study, six variables emerge as consistently aiding the body in its effort to reorganize in response to exercise: timing of nutritional intake (specifically protein), type of exercise, massage, sleep, low-dose creatine and – you guessed it – stretching.

Perhaps the most well-known and accepted benefits of muscle stretching exercises are improved or maintained range of motion, or both; alignment of bones and joints; and strengthening of connective tissues – all elements that optimize performance. Many studies have shown that flexibility training (dedicated attention over time to muscle stretching as part of an exercise program) directly improves muscle function, and ultrasound images have documented favorable alterations in muscle architecture following weeks of regular stretching, such as longer fibers. What’s more, a recent study has clearly shown that stretching over time improves blood flow to the muscles during subsequent exercise in animals.

Prior negative commentary around muscle stretching may be misleading to the casual observer. It is true that studies have shown static stretching routines (reach, hold for 30 seconds, release, next stretch) prior to a workout or competition lead to decreases in strength during that event, and that stretching before activity does not prevent injuries, as was long thought. But these are very specific circumstances that don’t apply to most people.

So Do I Stretch Or Not?

If you are an elite athlete trying to decrease injury, increase strength or accelerate muscle recovery right before your next event – then no.

If you are most people, exercising to lose weight, be well and improve mood – then yes. It will help with muscle remodeling, connective tissue strengthening, range-of-motion improvement, joint alignment and potentially blood flow during subsequent exercise – all beneficial effects in the long run.The Conversation

David Prologo is an academic interventional radiologist with a dual board certification in obesity medicine, working to help humans with pain or obesity (or both). He is the innovator of The Catching Point.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

See also:
Massage Increases Regrowth Of Muscle Tissue
Why Walking With Your Doctor Could Be Better Than Talking With Your Doctor

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

January 17, 2019

Hearts and minds make acrobatic leaps and contortions throughout the day. The Moon is in Gemini and nearing the full phase. A T-square configuration includes the Moon, Venus, Jupiter and Neptune. Heartstrings play loud and clear. Feelings are intense, at…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

January 2019

Learn Reiki to awaken your healing hands to care for yourself, your loved ones and pets. Facilitated by Lou Orsan, Reiki Shihan (Master-Teacher) This one-day class covers the basic...

Cost: $150

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road, Suite B2
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

This class meets 4 times: January 13th, February 24th, March 24th, April 7th The Eclectic Institute of Aromatherapy and Herbal Studies offers a comprehensive hands-on training in the art and...

Cost: $625 plus a material fee of $50

Where:
Misty Meadows Herbst Center
183 Wednesday Hill Rd
Lee, NH  03861
View map »


Sponsor: Misty Meadow Herbal Center
Telephone: 603-659-7211
Contact Name: Wendy Snow Fogg
Website »

More information

With Amy Bernier In this empowering workshop we will explore the innate intelligence of our gut, “the second brain”. We will use yoga postures and breath work to refine our digestive...

Cost: $40

Where:
State of Grace Yoga and Wellness Center
104 East. Hartford Ave.
Uxbridge, MA  01569
View map »


Telephone: 508-278-2818
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Show More...
Show Less...

Show More...
Show Less...

Instructor:  Peyton Pugmire Adult level Come together in a warm and uplifting space to get creative, connect, and breathe! At each meeting, we will have fun making a meaningful craft...

Cost: $45

Where:
Creative Spirit
80 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA  01945
View map »


Sponsor: Creative Spirit
Telephone: 781-797-0389
Contact Name: Peyton Pugmire
Website »

More information

One of the most mysterious and magickal of the archangels, Uriel, has a variety of different and conflicting roles in angelic lore. In The Book of Enoch he is one of humanity’s advocates...

Cost: $45

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street
Suite 1-A
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

World famous seminars (www.understandingofmusic.com) turns beginners into musicians, revitalizes and inspires even pro musicians.

Where:
Boston, MA


Telephone: (781) 599-1476
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

With Sherri Snyder-Roche. This yoga workshop will explore self-compassion, self-love and pushing through discomfort to help your recovery process. Recovery from divorce, eating disorders,...

Cost: $95 for 6 weeks or $17 drop in

Where:
State of Grace Yoga and Wellness Center
104 E. Hartford Avenue, Unit A
Uxbridge, MA  01569
View map »


Telephone: 508-278-2818
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Show More...
Show Less...

Deepen Your Practice DYP-30 Hour Yoga Alliance Course January–May 2019 5 Saturdays, 10am–4pm 1/19, 2/2, 3/30, 4/27, 5/18 Looking to deepen your practice but a 200 Hour training...

Cost: $599

Where:
KJ Fitness
Tewksbury, MA


Sponsor: Relax and Recharge With Chuck
Contact Name: Chuck
Website »

More information

January 19–20 With Patty Collinsworth Weekend class hours: Saturday, 10–5pm and Sunday, 10–5pm Learn how to open the Akashic Records for yourself and others in this...

Cost: $170

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street
Suite 1-A
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

The Eclectic Institute of Aromatherapy and Herbal Studies offers a comprehensive hands-on training in the art and science of Aromatherapy. This course covers the...

Cost: $550

Where:
The Soul Purpose
1225 Gar Highway
Swansea, MA  02777
View map »


Sponsor: The Soul Purpose
Telephone: 774-264-1329
Contact Name: Jessica Kozak
Website »

More information

Join nationally known psychic medium/spiritual counselor, Diana Harris, for a mediumship gallery. Diana is a bridge – a conduit between heaven and Earth. Ms. Harris will answer your questions...

Cost: $70

Where:
private office
North Andover, MA  01845


Sponsor: Diana Harris
Telephone: 978-973-6637
Contact Name: Diana Harris
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags