Why Stretching is a Non-Negotiable
When you skip stretching before and/or after your workout, you may be saving some time but you’re also gambling with your body. It’s not just about warming up and cooling down, it’s about preventing injury and protecting your physical health.
It’s also about dynamic and static stretching and when to do what one. Don’t worry, we’ll break it down and make it really simple, so that your next exercise experience is amplified to the max.
This goes in the warm-up category. Set aside at least 5 minutes to properly stretch before you start exercising. Dynamic stretches take your muscles and joints through repetitive and energetic motions. Repetitive movements, like walking lunges or high knees, help activate all your muscles and joints to give you a powerful starting point for working out. The more warmed-up your body is prior to exercise, the less likely you are to injure yourself.
The time to bring out your static stretches is after you workout. The focus here is not on activating, but relaxing your muscles and joints. Static stretches improve your flexibility and enable your muscles and joints to recover calmly and completely.
Whether you’re a quad stretcher or a low-lunger, make sure you hold your positions for at least 30-60 seconds- think about the word ‘static.’ Use deep breathing to help your body to soften more deeply into the stretch.
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T MIX THEM UP
You can negatively impact your workout if you go dynamic when you should be static and vice-versa. A study published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy claims that when static stretching is done before a workout, it could actually reduce your muscles’ ability to fire.
The article uses the term “stretch-induced strength loss” to describe the effects of doing static stretches before getting active. Take the time to prime and heal your body properly, and you will be rewarded with stronger and safer workouts.