Different stretching techniques can loosen muscles, avoid injury
For the past 15 years, fitness and rehabilitation professionals have encouraged the use of dynamic stretching to warm and loosen the whole body before exercising and playing sports. As a result, static stretching where one holds a stretch often while the body is cold has become a thing of the past.
In a recent review of hundreds of studies, researchers found that incorporating static stretching into a dynamic stretching routine involving an initial aerobic component could help reduce muscle strain injuries.
Ashley Carlson, a personal trainer at Advocate Condell Centre Club in Libertyville, Ill., says both of the stretching techniques are useful for different reasons.
“Dynamic stretches are important to warm up the muscle and get ready for quick movements. It helps to loosen the muscles in order to avoid risk of injury when the muscles are tight or cold,” says Carlson. “Static stretching gives tight muscles a chance to release and to break down lactic acid.”
Carlson offers the following tips for stretching:
– Get your blood flowing and your heart rate up.
– Start small and graduate to bigger movements.
– Make sure your body gets really warm.
– Go into the stretch slowly and controlled.
– Hold it for 30 seconds – 1 minute.
– Go into the stretch until you feel slight discomfort, but not pain.
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