Despite what we all learned in school sport, static stretching before exercise might not be that good for you.
Static stretching is where you hold a still stretch position for several seconds (for example, bending over and touching your toes).
Research has found that pre-exercise static stretching can reduce strength and power during the workout and does nothing to prevent injury. In fact, stretching tight, cold muscles before working out could actually increase your risk of injury or overstretching.
So what else can you do?
Dynamic warm ups are a better way to prepare for exercise. Good moves for warming up include high knees, lunges, arm circles and donkey kicks. By moving dynamically through your warm up your body increases its temperature and sends blood to the muscles, helping to prepare your nervous system and heart rate for the workout ahead.
So save the static stretches for after your workout or for another non-workout time when flexibility is your goal, not performance.