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

September 15, 2019

After the madcap “busy-ness” of the past few days, the now waning Aries Moon uncharacteristically gives us a chance to grow quiet, rest, regroup and reflect. The impetus to take a breather is sparked by the Moon’s sole aspect of the day, an evening…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

September 2019

Come shine with us! Join us in harmony and in our goal to bring the light of Spiritualism forward to all those who are searching.

Where:
VFW Post 2597
775 Boston Rd, Rt 3A
Billerica, MA
View map »


Sponsor: The Spiritualist Fellowship Church Of New England
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

September 16–December 16 A beautiful collection of messages from Jeshua Ben Joseph (Jesus) that will transform your life, as it did his. Coming together to study these teachings, to...

Cost: $25 per class

Where:
Heart and Soul Holistic Healing Center
66 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Heart and Soul Holistic Healing Center
Telephone: 781-258-9942
Contact Name: Barbara Ann Strassman
Website »

More information

This program begins with Gail Epstein and Sherri Snyder. This program includes trauma-informed yoga classes, optional individual counseling, journal writing exercises, art therapy and specific...

Where:
State of Grace Yoga and Wellness Center
Uxbridge, MA


Telephone: (508) 278-2818
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Witness the healing power of mediumship as renown Scottish medium Dominic Boag joins New England’s own respected spirit medium Raylene Sousa for an evening of spirit messages. Dominic,...

Cost: $40

Where:
Hampton Inn Wells-Ogunquit
900 Post Rd
Wells, ME  04090
View map »


Sponsor: Raylene Sousa Medium LLC
Telephone: (207) 956 - 0220
Contact Name: Raylene Sousa
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Imagine the benefits to your health if you could experience deep, rejuvenating rest on a regular basis. Join me to discover simple shifts that could help you get the restorative rest you crave....

Cost: $30

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
View map »


Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Telephone: 603-867-3969
Contact Name: Alice Bentley
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

September 19 (starts at 5 pm) – September 22 (ends at 4 pm) Are you a healer, counselor, coach, artist, entrepreneur? Adopt a fresh new assessment tool to uncover the core consciousness...

Where:
Burlington, VT


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

How to gracefully support students of varying mobility with Allison Parks Dugas As yoga teachers, it is rare that we don’t have a student with some type of physical concern, whether it is...

Cost: $45

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
View map »


Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Contact Name: Alice Bentley
Website »

More information

Have you ever attended a crystal bowl meditation—either in-person or virtually? Join Rhys Thomas for a powerful crystal bowl meditation and awaken your intuition and purpose through the...

Cost: $35

Where:
Studio 105 “One Love”
565 Rounsville Road
Plumb Corner
Rochester, MA
View map »


Telephone: 508-322-0998
Website »

More information

Join us preparing for the upcoming Autumnal Equinox over the weekend ahead! We will be doing a special meditation celebration of the Equinox. We will also be integrating our Tibetan and...

Cost: $35 Pre-registration required, includes class materials

Where:
Healing Power Of Flowers—Heaven and Earth
68 Stiles Rd
Salem, NH  03079
View map »


Sponsor: The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey Smith
Website »

More information

This Dating Program is the follow-up to Kerri Morrison's workshop, Deliberate Dating: 5 Keys to Successful Online Romance; held Friday, August 16th, 2019 from 6:30-7:30pm. View that event...

Cost: $199

Where:
Awaken Holistic Counseling Services
2 Liberty St., Unit 2L
Newburyport, MA  01950
View map »


Sponsor: Awaken Holistic Counseling Services, LLC
Telephone: 978-255-7893
Contact Name: Kerri Morrison
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Please join us for a day of deep healing and transformation using Holotropic Breathwork. “Consciousness does not just passively reflect the objective material world; it plays an...

Cost: $150 until Sep 14th, $175 after

Where:
First Congregational Church
43 Silver Street
Greenfield, MA  01301
View map »


Sponsor: Allen Howell, M.Ed. LMHC and Ellen Wolfe, MS HTR
Website »

More information

Stealth pathogens, mutants per se, are among us: in our mouths, guts, brains and throughout our bodies. Lyme Disease is just one of dozens of stealth pathogens. Discover which pathogens, parasites...

Cost: $99

Where:
The Way To Balance Center for Healing
21 Water Street
2nd floor
Amesbury, MA  01913
View map »


Sponsor: The Way To Balance, LLC Center for Advanced Healing & Training
Telephone: (978) 834-0341
Contact Name: Veronica
Website »

More information

Thrive is a new kind of health and wellness expo featuring the best holistic, alternative, and complementary services and products in the Upper Valley and beyond. Free and open to the public....

Cost: Free

Where:
Fireside Inn and Suites
25 Airport Road
West Lebanon, NH  03784
View map »


Sponsor: Thrive UV
Contact Name: Karen Gray
Website »

More information

September 21–22 Authentic methods from Egypt, China, Europe, and modern systems with Robert Gilbert Plus, Robert also offers Intro to Vibrational Healing with Minerals, Sacred...

Cost: $350

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


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

More information

Time with Spirit is a calling for both mediums. Let them help you enhance your communications! During this full day interactive workshop Raylene and Dominic will explore all aspects of...

Cost: $125

Where:
The Mills at Salmon Falls
3 Front Street
Lower Mill
Rollinsford, NH  03869
View map »


Sponsor: Raylene Sousa Medium LLC
Telephone: 207-956-0220
Contact Name: Raylene Sousa
Website »

More information

  A fun day of food, drinks, presentations, gallery readings and private readings at the Spirit & Soul Psychic Fair! Readers so far: (new readers forthcoming) Abla El Azhary...

Cost: $20 in advance, $25 day of show

Where:
Garden Hilton Inn
800 Hall Of Fame Ave
Springfield, MA  01105
View map »


Sponsor: Quantum Life Management Center
Telephone: 860-830-9069
Website »

More information

Sound healing with use of Tibetan bowls is an effective and proven modality that uses vibration and sound to help reduce stress, alter consciousness and create a deep sense of peace, well being and...

Cost: $20 before Sept 20 ($25 after)

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman Street, Suite 108B
Westborough Shopping Center
Westborough, MA  01581
View map »


Sponsor: www.SOHUM.org
Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
Website »

More information

Do you struggle with letting go? What does it mean to "let go" or to surrender? Surrendering is much more than opening up on the mat and letting go of physical tension. There are...

Cost: $25 early-bird ($30 after 9/19)

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman Street, Suite 108B
Westborough Shopping Center
Westborough, MA  01581
View map »


Sponsor: www.SOHUM.org
Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
Website »

More information

Reiki Master Teacher Libby Barnett, M.S.W., integrates her healing skills with past experience as a medical social worker at Massachusetts General Hospital. 38 years experience. Reiki...

Where:
Weston, MA


Telephone: 603-654-2787
Website »

More information

Psychics, mediums, angel readers, spirit art. Reiki, chair massage, IET, Gaiadon Heart, crystal healings, etc. Sign yourself up for a few appointments and bring your friends! Appointments...

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA
View map »


Telephone: 508-230-3680
Website »

More information

September 21–22 Join other like-minded seekers as we take a journey through the concepts of the new Earth paradigm, higher self and soul sovereignty, ascension mechanics, and spiritual...

Where:
275 Main Street
Watertown, MA  02453
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn to overcome spinal tensions through therapeutic postures, designed to decompress your spine and relieve pain. Taught by a certified yoga therapist, classes bring you through poses...

Cost: 5/$50

Where:
Bliss Through Yoga
484 Bedford St
East Bridgewater, MA  02333
View map »


Telephone: 508-331-3564
Contact Name: Janice O'Brien
Website »

More information

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