Do you stretch?
Most people know they should stretch before and after a workout but what type of stretching to perform and for how long is more up in the air. There are two styles of stretching that I would like to talk about today: dynamic and static.
Dynamic stretching involves controlled leg and arm swings and body twists through full range of motion. Not to get confused with ballistic stretching which are short, jerky bounces in a static stretch (Not beneficial). The movements should replicate a similar motion to the activity being performed. For example, if you are going on a run start with walking high knees and arm swings. Incorporating dynamic stretches into your warm-up will improve your functional flexibility and lower the incidence of injury.
Favorite 4 dynamic stretches:
- Arm swings in all directions
- High knees- add hip rotation in and out while walking forward
- Butt kicks- start walking and increase to a jog
- Inchworm – start in a push up position and walk feet to hands than walk hands back out to a push up position
Static stretching consists of reaching and holding a muscle to the point of tension for 20 to 30 seconds. The best time to perform static stretches is during your cool down to help relax tight muscles. A good stretch should feel a little uncomfortable but not painful! Again remember not to bounce in the stretch as this can damage the muscles. Make sure you stay warm when performing the stretches to help relax the muscles.
Favorite 4 static stretches:
- Hip flexor stretch – a standing lunge
- Pectoral muscle stretch- Open the chest in between a doorway or one side along the wall
- Piriformis/Gluteal stretch- Put 1 foot on the opposite knee. Perform seated or laying down
- Calf stretch- Put your toes up on the wall and feel the stretch!
For more information on stretching and what stretches are beneficial for you stop by the office. We’d love to help you!