Can stretching help with muscle soreness
Nearly everyone has heard about stretching and its benefits for muscle soreness. But is this really the case? Does stretching relieve the soreness after physical activities? Is it actually beneficial for you? Let’s check some information.
Delayed-onset muscle soreness
What is delayed-onset muscle soreness – we’ll that is the feeling of being sore after you exercise. This is believed to be due to damaged muscle fibers when you’ve exercised harder than your body is accustomed to. The American College of Sports Medicine says that the delayed-onset muscle soreness happens because the muscle lengthens when it’s under force which is known as eccentric muscle contraction.
What about stretching?
Well, stretching is lengthening of the muscle. So, this shows us why stretching may not be the best thing to do if you want to relieve the soreness after hard training session. Some research studies show that there are people who experience slight reduction in pain if they stretch but there are no significant enough results to recommend stretching as a way to provide pain relief for sore muscle, according to the British Medical Journal.
A few words about the nervous system
Pain is a result of signals sent by the nervous system to a particular part of your body with this signal meaning that movements should be restricted and the activity is potentially damaging. To put is simply, pain is a protection mechanism. So, if you stretch a painful area, then this will lead to a bigger response from the nervous system.
So what should I do if my muscles are sore?
Take it easy. When the muscles are sore, they are adapting to a particular new activity and are strengthening. But in order to get stronger, your muscles need some time for recovery. Thus, don’t put them under additional strain. Cut back on your exercising when you have sore muscles or perform only exercises with lower impact – like swimming or simply walking.
Drink more water. The muscles will recover faster when your body is properly hydrated.
Speed up the time for recovery with drinking plenty of water. You’ll need more than 2-3 liters a day to promote recovery and you’d better avoid alcohol and carbonated drinks.
How to prevent muscle soreness?
Well, by stretching. Seems strange, doesn’t it? To put it simply, stretching after an exercise doesn’t lead to any significant results but stretching before exercise can help you prevent muscle soreness. Don’t do static stretching – holding into a stretch in a single position for several seconds – because this may lead to injury or more muscle soreness. Do dynamic stretches instead – this means that you should not hold the muscles and joints but move them.
Warm up can be done with lunges, jump squats, lunges, jogging, cycling, walking, etc.
Take it slow. This is valid for beginners. If you are just starting, your muscles won’t be capable of too much or too intense training. So start slowly and gradually increase the amount and the intensity of your training sessions.