I always stretched. Especially as a gymnast. Then it was ingrained into my mind and body.
But watching clients (albeit not gymnasts but just peeps trying to live a healthy life), I’m more of the ‘do good or don’t do’ camp now.
A lot of research has come out about both sides of the story. You hear of athletes who did static stretches, and their performance often suffered: many couldn’t jump as high, sprint as fast or swing a tennis racquet or golf club as powerfully as they could before they stretched. I think it was something about static stretching causing the nervous system to react and tighten, not loosen, the stretched muscle.
So back to considering the rest of us, the latest findings show, we’re unlikely to sustain any harm from brief spurts of static stretching — but equally unlikely to gain much advantage. Except those who feel the benefits of stretching to psych themselves up!
In my personal and client experience too, stretching end ranges of muscles of non professional athletes isn’t really purposeful, a tad boring and time consuming, and there are just other and better ways! You might have guessed that, yes, it’s movement.
When real movement is pursued – it will take care of your needs in terms of ranges of motion. Just go as far as you can. Often. And your ranges will change with need. Being more often needs. We often get impatient and dissatisfied with what we should have and hence get what we deserve!
The one thing I will say about stretching that perhaps some yogas and definitely daily meditation can take care of instead is the indispensable value to your body in relaxing by allowing it to be dead weight. It’s so good for the mind and the body.
Allowing your nerves to relax and not fire so frequently so fast so all the time. They’re going to be working all the time of course. Your muscles are always on. But at the same time letting your body relax and just be. Now that’s the kind of stretching I’d be into.