updated 24 Dec 2010, 14:49
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Fri, Aug 20, 2010
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Misconceptions about stretching before exercising
by Cynthia Loh

Most of us know the drill - do your warm-up exercises before going on to the main activity. But did you know that a lot of us can get our stretching routine wrong?

Master trainer Koon Hua from Power Work Studio shares how to warm up properly:

Many people incorporate static stretches, eg. Hamstring Stretch, as part of their warm-up  routine. Now, warm-up is a pre-exercise activity used to increase the temperature of the  muscles and hence its elasticity. Little did most people know that static stretches before exercise may cause tears in their tendons because the muscles is still pretty inelastic. Also  performing static stretches before an exercise may be detrimental to the performance of that particular activity.

Here in tropical Singapore, our muscles are generally warm enough, hence before an exercise it is advisable to perform a light activity utilising similar actions required in the actual exercise, eg. If you are preparing for a run, a good warm-up would be a fast walk or slow jog, followed by dynamic stretches like “High Knees” or “Leg Swing”. These would actually prepare the muscles and joints before the activity by increasing the range of motion, temperature and blood flow to these tissues.

However, static stretches is still one of the best activity to be performed after exercising. It helps to realign the partially entangled muscles fibres in order to decrease muscles soreness and improve the speed of recovery. Try it out – perform an intense exercise with and without static stretches on different occasions to feel the difference.

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