If you’re a fitness lover or live a relatively active life and work out often, you’re probably aware of the fact that it’s always a good idea to stretch before you exercise. However, according to Andrea Fornarola, founder and lead trainer of Elements Fitness Studio, you may need to hone in on your technique to ensure you’re not doing more harm than good. As Fornarola points out, the last thing you want to do is overstretch certain muscles, especially your hamstrings and joints.
“When performing at-home [or gym] workouts often, it can be difficult to know how much to really stretch following the workout,” Fornarola tells The List. “It is super easy to overstretch your hamstrings by accident, so, make sure you are using a strong band that is long enough for your body that will allow you to stretch safely.” Recommending that you always use resistance bands for stretching, Fornarola says that in order stretch your hamstrings correctly, you need to ensure that you “keep the knees soft, and carefully stretch laying on your back.”
Stretching probably won't solve your joint pain
When it comes to stretching your muscles and your joints, you need to learn to listen to your body. The reason you need to do this is to ensure that you have no pain or injuries before you begin stretching. This is particularly important for your joints. “When a joint hurts, you might be surprised to find out that stretching the joint is not always the answer,” warns Fornarola. She continues, “While muscles stretch, joints should stay tightly joined together by tendons.”
In other words, it’s better to steer clear of stretching your joints altogether unless you have professional guidance. While overuse, repetitive movements and overstretching may have caused the initial joint pain, Fornarola believes it could quickly become a bigger problem if not dealt with correctly. “I always recommend having it checked by a medical professional if the pain is continuous,” she tells The List.
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