Cool down: stretching after sport relaxes the muscles

Cool down: stretching after sport relaxes the muscles

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Proper stretching after exercise - cool down relaxes muscles
When the muscles are stressed during sports, they often harden quickly. For many athletes, this leads to the need to stretch the muscles afterwards. But that does not always lead to the desired result.

Promote mobility and relax muscles
Experts agree that exercise is usually healthy, and regular exercise helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure or heart attack. Athletes are also less likely to be overweight or obese. However, when it comes to stretching, experts like sports scientists and trainers often disagree. Some believe that stretching before exercise makes sense and you can prevent muscle soreness by stretching. Others contradict such theses. After physical exercise, stretching exercises are recommended according to most experts. It can be used to promote mobility and to relax the muscles. However, such exercises are not the right thing for every sports session.

Different areas of application
As stated in a message from the dpa news agency, the areas of application for stretching are pre-stretching as part of the warm-up, post-stretching in the sense of a cool-down or stretching as a separate training unit. Marcel Reuter, lecturer at the German University for Prevention and Health Management, explains an example: "The widespread assumption that strength training shortens the muscles and requires an intensive cool-down has not been scientifically proven."

Orientate to the previous load
Basically, the stretching program should always be based on the previous load. Longer static stretching after intensive loads is not advisable. “The primary goal of the cool-down should be to break down the metabolite lactate as quickly as possible. However, static stretching can reduce the blood flow to the muscles and thereby even increase the regeneration time, ”says Reuter. In this case, actively phasing out would be much more effective. And even after intensive strength training, extensive stretching is not advisable.

Holistic training session
On the other hand, with less stress, re-stretching can bring advantages, as the practical experience of athletes and coaches shows. “Many athletes describe a subjectively pleasant relaxation of the muscles through a cool-down. The effects of stretching on a muscle's ability to relax have also been demonstrated, ”says Reuter, who used to be a national badminton player. Stretching can be done as a separate training session or integrated into a holistic training session. As it says in the dpa report, an extension of up to 45 seconds is useful to improve mobility. A longer stretch is therefore not necessary or has no significant additional effect. (ad)

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