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Q&A with K & A

Fun and Fit: Stretch Before or After a Hike and Fight?

K & A take a shot — and bribes? — at helping a couple settle a bet

Dear Fun and Fit gals: We believe that the couple who hikes together, stays together. This morning on a lovely hike, we found ourselves debating the truth of exercise advice one of us learned long ago: Leave the deep stretching until after the heavy workout — as opposed to stretching before a hike or run, when muscles are cold and maybe a little cranky.

Fun and Fit:Q and A with K and A, aka Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA, and Alexandra Williams, MA
Fun and Fit: Q and A with K and A, aka Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA, and Alexandra Williams, MA

Is it still considered wise to stretch after (not before) vigorous exercise?

— Your fans, Gordon and Erika in Goleta

Kymberly: The couple who debates together stays together — until one of them loses this bet. Yes, we’ve been around this hiking block and see the dangers that lie ahead. But we persevere anyway to bring righteous truthiness and stretchiness to the active world. Once we answer, will one of you be cranky even though your muscles no longer will be?

And the winnah winnah winnah is ... one of you is correct. OK, I’ll give. Stretching is best done when muscles and the core body temperature are at their warmest, and that spells “post activity.” Is one of you hot under the collar now?

Alexandra: We covered some of this (including a lovely picture) in our post “Stretch It or Be Wretched.” But the full truth and nothing but the truth is essentially whatever Fun and Fit say it is, for the simple reason that we sprinkle a light dusting of truth over nothingeverything we do, so we’ll give you even more info.

While doing your post-exercise stretches, please

argue, yell and scream politely discuss your differences of opinion for at least 15 to 30 seconds so that you can get improved active range of motion, rather than a quick five-second dish-throwing tirade

discourse about improved passive range of motion.

Stretching is best done when muscles and the core body temperature are at their purrr — errr, warmest.
Stretching is best done when muscles and core body temperature are at their purrr — errr, warmest. ( photo)

K: Let’s divide and conquer — umm, this is the segment that is not couple’s advice. To prepare to move (i.e., hike, run, walk), you need to actually move. Yes, indeedy. A warmup needs to literally heat up the body by mimicking the workout to come. That is, in your warmup, do the type of movements you will be doing in the workout, but at a lower intensity and graduated pace.

Holding still and stretching statically would be the opposite of this. The muscles are most helpful when warm, pliable, extensible and juicy.

Also, all the latest research concludes that static stretching before exercising offers no injury prevention protection. Nor does pre-activity stretching help minimize muscle soreness. Are you listening, people and coaches?! Alert, alert — exit the ‘80s door at the end.

A: This post took us 15 to 30 hours to write in a nonpassive way because that’s how long it took for us to conclude that no

stupid, **&^*^%$

reputable research exists about “cranky” muscles. As a sop, though, here is a nice, compassionate saying regarding cranky, angry people.

K: So who won the bet, G or E? And where’s my cut? Huh?

Dear readers and crankyfoos: What is your favorite stretch after a long hike? What do you argue about during long, romantic strolls along the beach?

— Identical twins and fitness pros Kymberly Williams-Evans and Alexandra Williams have been in the fitness industry since the first aerobics studio opened on the European continent. They teach, write, edit, emcee and present their programs worldwide on land, sea and airwaves. They co-write Fun and Fit: Q and A with K and A. You can currently find them in action leading classes in Santa Barbara and Goleta. Kymberly is the former faculty minor adviser at UCSB for its fitness instruction degree offered through the Department of Exercise & Sport Studies; Alexandra serves as an instructor and master teacher for the program. Fun and Fit answers real questions from real people, so please send your comments and questions to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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