When is the best time to do stretching exercises to improve flexibility?
As you learned from reading the Fitness for Life: Middle School student textbook, the ability of your joints to move the way that theyre supposed to move is called flexibility. Long muscles and tendons allow you to have good flexibility. Stretching, using the types of static stretches and/or PNF stretches described in the text, is the best way to stretch muscles and tendons and improve flexibility.
The best time to do your stretching is when the muscles are warm. Many experts recommend that you do your stretching program after you have done a general warm-up or, even better, after you have been exercising for at least 10 minutes. Warm muscles stretch easier than cold muscles, so your program will be more effective if you do your stretching after doing other exercise.
The warm-up done prior to your exercise program is not the same thing as a stretching program or workout that you do as part of your total exercise program.
In a warm-up, you begin with a general total body activity and then do several less intense stretching exercises.
As part of your total exercise program, you begin with exercise that really gets your muscles warm, and you stretch afterward. For example, basketball players often do shooting drills, dribbling drills, and running drills before stretching.
Sometimes, people do stretching exercises separately from other parts of their total exercise program. For example, they might stretch first thing in the morning or before going to bed at night. If you choose to do this, you should do a good general warm-up before stretching.