Personally, I've never been a big one for stretching. I never experienced much benefit from it and for years I have heard contradictory information about the benefits of static stretches. So while I regularly incorporate dynamic stretches in my routine, I have typically shied away from static stretches.
But I recently took some singing lessons and the first thing the instructor had me do (before I sang a single note!) was stretch. And, boy, did it feel good! The instructor was focused on the muscles groups that related to singing, but it still just felt SO good. As a voice student, I continued to do the recommended stretches. As I did these stretches, I thought that focusing on muscle groups related to running might feel good too, especially since I have had a niggle in my left hip since about May of this year. Nothing serious, but it has felt bit uncomfortable (in a dull, achy sort of way).
I decided to look for some stretches to help me with my running muscles. Not finding exactly what I was looking for online, I thought to look for an app. After trying a couple free apps available in the Play store, I settled on the Fitify Stretching app. I liked it because I could choose which part of my body I wanted to target, the stretches were clear and easy to follow, the app is relatively streamlined, and the app can lead me through a stretching routine. I decided to focus on my lower body and have really enjoyed the exercises. Like the stretches for my singing lessons, they feel SO good, especially because the stretches include several different leg muscles (e.g., glutes, hamstrings).
Regardless of the contradictory research, I know that I feel better now. That niggle, I'm delighted to say, it's almost completely gone. While it's hard for me to admit in writing (for all of you to read!), I share because perhaps you've heard some of the same research and have, like me, avoided stretching.
While I'm not endorsing stretches or the elimination of them, I'd love to hear about your experience and would encourage you to experiment.
Do you find stretching helps you? What's your favorite stretch?