Stretching is a common way for most anyone to warm-up before exercise or a sporting event. But it’s important to make sure that you incorporate the right type of stretching into your routine. The two types of stretching, known as static stretching and dynamic, are both important and timing is key! So, let’s dive into the topic a little further.
Dynamic stretching includes movements that are similar to those that an athlete would be exposed to do in his or her chosen sport – or in your chosen exercise activity. Some examples of dynamic movements include high knees, football or basketball shuffles, quick carioca, and running mechanical drills. Dynamic stretching is ideal prior to exercising to prepare joints for movement and muscles for optimal activation.
Static stretching is when the muscles act without movement or generate force, while the length remains static and the joint angle does not change. Static stretching can help increase flexibility and support the recovery process. However, since static stretching relaxes the muscles involved, it does not prepare the body for high impact activity.
THE RUBBER BAND ANALOGY
What would happen if you tried to stretch a rubber band that was in the freezer for an hour? Spoiler alert: it would break! Instead, you’d probably want to slowly warm up the rubber band before stretching it too far. Then, once the rubber band warms up it would stay intact under the same tension.
Try to approach your stretching with that analogy in mind. Warm up your body slowly by incorporating dynamic stretches and movements. After completing your activity, cool down with slow, static stretches.
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