In our latest article, we have our newest member to the Spinefit team, Ms. Gervince Chai to share her thoughts on the myths and facts to stretching.
Should stretching be performed before or after a workout?
The answer is a definite ‘YES’! Now that you know how important it is, it is also good to understand that there are two types of stretching. They are called dynamic and static stretching.
To give some clarity, dynamic stretching utilises your body momentum to bring forth a stretch which is not held in a static position. In simpler terms, dynamic stretching is “stretching as you are moving” and is usually performed as a warm up prior to the start of an exercise regimen. The theory of dynamic stretching is that it practises moving a muscle group through its available range of movement.
So why is dynamic stretching so crucial in preparing your body for movement or even sport performance?
By starting your workout with dynamic stretching, it sends nerve signals from your brain to the muscle fibres and connective tissues to be prepared for potential high intensity movement. As your body temperature rises, blood and oxygen will start to flow to the soft tissues.
One other critical point to consider about dynamic stretching is that it is movement specified. This means that the type of dynamic stretches you do, should follow the type of activity or sport you will be doing for that day. For example, if you are a sprinter preparing for a 100 meters sprint, dynamic stretches like high knees, “butt kickers“ and leg swings would work best.
What then, is static stretching?
Static stretching is a form of stretching where it is done with minimal movement. It is also a form of stretching where you stretch your muscles to a point of discomfort but not to a point where you feel pain. It is recommended to hold the stretches for approximately 15 to 20 seconds for effective results.
A common mistake is for people to perform static stretching as a warm up before they start exercising instead of dynamic stretching! This myth could be due to some people believing that static stretching before a workout could reduce the risk of an injury. However, recent studies have shown that static stretching can reduce muscle strength and also decrease muscular performance (Source).
Static stretches done after a workout or sport performance promotes blood circulation within the body especially after the muscles have gone through an extensive workout. By practising static stretching, it will help to return your breathing, heart rate and body temperature back to a resting state.
If you are still unsure about what dynamic or static stretching is, make an appointment with us and speak with either Gervince or one of our team members for clarification. You can make an online booking here, or call us on 03-64193918 during our opening hours to make your initial consultation.