There are so many reasons to stretch that you may think doing it all day long is a good idea. So you may be surprised to learn that there are some instances in which you ought to take a pass. Here are 5 times that stretching is a not allowed.
1. You have a recent injury.
Sure, stretching might be a common part of physical therapy, but if you've injured yourself in the past few days (or hours) you're probably better off resting. Otherwise, you risk exacerbating the injury. In particular you should refrain from stretching any time you have acute muscle strain, acute ligament sprain, or nerve injury/damage. And it's definitely off-limits if you have sharp, consistent, or radiating pain.
2. You’ve just had surgery.
If you went under the knife, especially if you've had your Achilles tendon or hamstring repaired; don't think about stretching until you've spoken to your surgeon or physical therapist.
3. You have muscle knots and/or spasms.
Spasms are involuntary contractions in muscles, and trying to stretch them out simply won't work and could make the pain worse.
4. You’re feeling cold.
Whether it's really cold outside or your body just hasn't had a chance to warm up yet, stretching when you're chilly can cause unnecessary strain or even a muscle tear. Your muscles stretch better when warm, so you decrease the likelihood of injury.
5. You're already super flexible.
Can you touch your thumb to your wrist? Or bend your pinkie backward to a 90-degree angle? If you're way more flexible than most people then you shouldn't stretch without first getting guidance on how not to hurt yourself. "You might be suffering from stability issues, a lack of control in certain parts of your body like your hips.
6. You're about to hit the field/court/ice.
Getting ready to play baseball, soccer, football or any other activity that requires fast, abrupt muscle force? Static stretching slowly extending a muscle to its end range of motion is a bad plan. Active stretches stimulate and prepare muscles for use during exercise. They also increase heart rate, body temperature, and blood flow to help you move more efficiently. So it makes sense to incorporate them into your pre-game warm-up.