Stretching is one of the most fundamental components of a fitness or exercise regime.
Performing stretching exercises before any fitness activity allows the body to become more flexible and less prone to injury. Stretching after exercise is also equally important. It allows the muscles to get back to their normal form and helps reduce muscle soreness and pain.
Flexibility is attributable to the protein collagen that surrounds cells. In fact, 25-30% of whole body protein is collagen! There are different types of collagens, each regulated by different genes. Collagen type V is important for flexibility. The more the flexible you are, the less you need to stretch before and after exercise. However, the presence of flexibility can lead to reduced exercise performance since more energy is required for muscle stabilising activity.
Flexibility is an indispensable aspect of fitness as it reflects the propensity for exercise-associated muscle injury. Your degree of flexibility and risk for tendinopathy as determined through genes are helpful in deciding the type and duration of your pre and post stretching exercises which would make your fitness regimen more comfortable for you to follow.