Q. and A. with Dr. Kiskila- This Month’s Topic: Stretching and Exercise

Kiskila croppedQuestion- Dr. Kiskila, is it better to stretch before or after exercise?  Or both?

Answer- Data conflicts and there are no good studies to show that stretching is best before or after exercise. It’s likely beneficial to do both.

Question- Why is stretching important?

Answer- Stretching can improve flexibility and range of motion and may improve performance in some exercises and decrease the risk of athletic-based injury.

Question- Can you overdo stretching?  How much is too much?

Answer- In some cases, stretching can be too much (i.e. you already have a strained muscle, or have a chronic condition like arthritis, osteoporosis, or a physical impairment). It’s best to talk to your doctor before you stretch or exercise if you are sick, have a fever, muscle aches, have an active infection, blood clot, skin sores that won’t heal, recent surgery or unexplained weight loss.

Question- What are the best types of stretches for activity?

Answer- The best stretches are based on the activity. It’s best to stretch the muscles used for a specific activity. For example, if you are going to throw a ball, stretching the arm muscles is best. Start slow with low intensity so that your muscles get used to it. Then increase stretching as your muscles get used to the range of motion for that specific activity.

Question- Should certain age groups stretch more or less than others?

Answer- An individualized activity plan is recommended for older adults for specific activities.  Special considerations should be used for functionally limited or frail individuals, but all age groups benefit from stretching and exercise.

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.


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