I have nothing against stretching. In fact I spend about five minutes after running, biking or walking  with various stretches. I try not to bounce, which is a common mistake among males, who for God knows why, seem to think that briefly touching the toes (or for those of us who can’t quite make it there, perhaps the ankles) demands bouncing upward again and again. I have also tried yoga, which for a middle aged guy may have not been the best idea.

You see, with yoga, the stretches in my opinion, are held for what seems to  be forever. Not only that, but your body is placed in unnatural positions, which, except for that perfectly fit 20 year old next to you, seems almost impossible to obtain. Breathing is crucial and I just couldn’t seem to time the breaths with the motion. Perhaps a more gentle, age appropriate yoga would have been better for me

Still, yoga and other  forms of stretching are without a doubt good for the aching muscles and may prevent conditions such as sciatica, tendonitis and muscle tears. In addition, stretching helps relax the mind, especially with breathing exercises.  Stretching is best done after the workout. There is evidence that stretching done before a work out is counterproductive. Why? Probably because the muscles are not yet warmed up and thus more prone to injury from stretching.

If you feel an increase in pain over your joints or muscles when stretching, you should stop at once. It might be that your stretches are not being done properly, but it could also be due to an underlying, previously unrecognized injury.

There are indeed many, many different stretching exercises. If you’re not familiar with any, you can google stretching exercises or better yet, ask some friends who stretch regularly. If you combine stretching with an aerobic workout such as walking for example, you will benefit not only from the calorie burn and cardiovascular jog, but also from more relaxed muscles and better posture.