Well Being

Exercise Routine: Touch Your Toes and Say Oww

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Static stretching, the touch-your-toes kind that you probably learned in elementary school gym class, has not only been found to be an ineffective warm-up, but also can hurt your workout, according to research in the Telegraph. While intended to loosen you up, static stretches can actually cause your muscles to tighten. You wind up pushing your body to its flexibility limit; to compensate and protect itself, your body will tense up and contract. Then your muscles don't move as well, which means a greater chance of injury, and a sub-par performance. This isn't to say that static stretching is all bad (it does help with flexibility), but you shouldn't do it right before working out. Think of it like weightlifting: Would you do a ton of bicep curls before picking up a heavy box? No, because your body would tire out. Same thing here. Push your flexibility post-workout or before bedtime, when you won't be doing intense physical movements immediately afterward. (Not to worry – sex doesn't count.) Before your workout, warm up wisely by taking a light jog or doing a few reps of lunges.

via the Telegraph

photo: Thinkstock

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