There’s a lot of talk out there about the importance of exercise and maintaining a proper diet to develop good health and fitness – but what about stretching? It may seem like a simple concept, which is why it tends to be overlooked; however, stretching can play an important role in your body’s overall wellness and performance.
Two Types of Stretching to Know
Dynamic stretching – This type of stretching involves a full range of motion to engage all your muscles.
Some examples include:
- Walking Lunges
- Leg Swings
- Arm Circles
Static stretching – This type of stretching involves holding the muscle in a position to induce lengthening.
A few static stretches include:
- Quadriceps Stretches
- Arm and Shoulder Stretches
- Head Bend
Benefits of Dynamic vs. Static Stretching
It is suggested that dynamic stretching should be done before any workout or performance because it may help “increase muscle temperature and decrease muscle injury.”1 This specific type of stretching could help improve speed, agility and acceleration, and get the body where is needs to be before engaging in a workout. Granted, each person’s body is different, so if you find yourself questioning whether dynamic stretching before an athletic event is right for you, consult your physician.
Static stretching can be good for you post-workout because it can help “dull the nervous system,”2 calm the muscles down and give them a good cool-down. Plus, static stretching usually feels good! You may find yourself doing it midday, just to help loosen up tight muscles.
5 Key Benefits of Stretching
Stretching can help benefit the body in the following ways3:
- Improve Posture
- Decrease Your Risk of Injuries
- Improve Athletic Performance
- Improve Joint Range of Motion
- Stress Relief4
A Word for the Wise
Ballistic stretching has become a popular topic of conversation as a new form of stretching to add to your routine – but is it safe? While it remains popular among athletes, The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons advises against it for most people. Ballistic stretching consists of “bouncing movements to push your body beyond its normal range of motion.”5 It is not recommended because there is risk of straining or pulling a muscle. This type of stretching can also can damage the soft tissue around the joints, which could potentially develop into tendonitis.6
Want more? Check out our article Stretch Your Potential, Stretch Your Muscles for some added stretching info and tips!
- Plack, Leigh-Ann. “Stretching Tips for Athletes: Dynamic and Static Stretching.” Hospital for Special Surgery. N.p., 20 Apr. 2011. Web. 20 June 2017.
- Boyce, CPT Lee. “Question of the Week: The Benefits of Stretching Exercises.” Men’s Fitness. Men’s Fitness, 17 Feb. 2014. Web. 20 June 2017.
- “Stretching: Focus on Flexibility.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 21 Feb. 2017. Web. 20 June 2017.
- Inverarity, DO Laura. “7 Stretching Tips From a Physical Therapist.” Verywell. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 June 2017.
- Goldman, Rena. “Ballistic Stretching: Is It Safe?” Healthline. Healthline Media, 13 June 2016. Web. 20 June 2017.