We’re all told that stretching is a huge factor for your overall health. It helps keeps the muscles flexible, which in return helps prevents the chance of injuries. But did you know there are two types? There is Static Stretching and Dynamic Stretching.
Everyone knows what static stretching is, whether they think they do or not. This is just your everyday, run of the mill, basic stretching. Static Stretching is now taught to be done after you complete your workout. By performing this stretch after your workout you ensure flexibility to your muscles, increase your range of motion, and the prevention of injuries in the future.
Everyone should include Static stretching into their lives whether you workout regularly or not. It is recommend that everyone should stretch 5-7 days a week to gain and then maintain your flexibility. Unfortunately, in order to maintain your flexibility and range of motion you have to keep up with it. Use it, or lose it situation really. Yoga utilizes this type of stretching. For example, any forward bends you try will stretch your lower back and hamstrings while releasing tension in your upper body, which also increases the spines flexibility. The more stretching you do, whether it be with yoga or just you stretching after a workout, the better range of motion you will have, more flexible, and less injury occurrences.
Examples Include: Front Lunge, Side Lunge, Back Extension, Sitting Hip Stretch, Sitting Hamstring Stretch, Laying Hamstring Stretch, etc.)
Originally we were taught that static stretching was known as the correct way to loosen your muscles up before a workout. However, now we are aware of this new way of stretching and it’s amazing benefits. Dynamic Stretching is now taught as the proper way to start your workouts because it gets your muscles ready for the workout to come. This stretch is much more beneficial as a warm up in order to maximize your performance in your workout.
Dynamic is known for warming up your muscles while loosening them to. When you keep your body and muscles moving you’re raising your muscles core temperature and getting them warmed up. That’s why it is now taught as a warm up. The effectiveness of your warm up can not only affect the occurrence of injury, but also impacts your ability to perform.
While Static Stretching is great for increasing your range of motion, so is Dynamic Stretching. Let’s face it, either way you’re still stretching your muscles, you’re still increasing your flexibility which in return increases your range of motion.
Examples include: Arm Circles (Front and Reverse), Walking Lunges, High Knees, Butt Kickers, Cherry Pickers, Jumping Jacks, etc.)
If the idea of stretching 5-7 days a week is a little overwhelming, try to fit a few minutes of stretching into your day at first and then increase from there. You can increase by adding one or two more stretches every few days. When you first try a stretch do not try and stretch as far as you can, that will just create injuries. What you want to do is slowly position yourself into the stretch until you feel a slight pulling on your muscle. From there take a few seconds to get comfortable with it and then try and go a little deeper into the stretch to try and increase that flexibility. Again do not try and over-stretch yourself! Try and hold each stretch 20-30 seconds, taking deep breathes.
Good luck stretching. Keep living that healthy lifestyle!