Whenever working out, fitness and wellness experts tell us stretching is vital to getting lose and reducing your risk of injury. But they are now telling us dynamic stretching (rather than static stretching) is far more beneficial to maximize performance.
Dynamic stretching is an active stretching routine that is designed to slowly move one through motions to increase heart rate and raise body temperature, sending extra blood flow to key muscles. This is all done to prepare for exercise or competition by increasing one’s range of motion.
Keep these four things in mind when performing your dynamic stretches:
- Keep your body continuously moving, even while stretching.
- Prepare your muscles in a sport specific way. These different types of movement will help get your muscles ready to perform at game time.
- Dynamic stretching helps get you mentally prepared for the game or workout ahead. (Static stretching is more relaxing and can trick your body into relaxation mode.)
- Improve range of motion around your joints, which can help reduce injury.
A study published in the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research” in 2008 showed that athletes who performed daily dynamic stretching routines for four weeks showed significant improvements to power, speed, endurance, flexibility, strength and agility compared to athletes performing static warm-ups.
So how do you start a dynamic stretching program you might ask? Remember, when beginning a program it’s important to start at an appropriate level of intensity that’s comfortable for you and your body. The intensity is determined by the following factors:
- Range of motion
- Speed of movement
- Number of stretches
- Force generated during the movement
- Total time stretched
When first beginning a dynamic stretching routine, you should start with short, slower movements that don’t require a lot of force. Blood will get circulating after light aerobic activity lasting five to 10 minutes and increase your body temperature. Keep in mind, if the intensity of stretching is increased too rapidly, so is your risk of injury so be sure to gradually intensify your stretching each week, not immediately.
For more information on dynamic stretching, what exercises are safe and how to incorporate this into your workout, please call M&M Physical Therapy at (856) 234-4600 or visit www.mmptnj.com.