Two Ways You Need To Stretch This Summer

Clip-art of two silhouettes stretching

We all know how good stretching feels. We do it almost daily, sometimes involuntarily – like the infamous scream-stretch we do while getting out of bed. Research and experience have repeatedly shown us the importance of a good stretch routine; and over time has shed light on the two different ways we can indulge in a good stretch: statically and dynamically. With many spring activities now in full swing, it’s critical to look at ways we can abstain from injury, and the benefits of stretching are worthy of consideration!
Both types of stretching have different uses, albeit static stretching is the most common and can be classified as anything that you can perform while the body is at rest. You’ve done static stretches if you’ve ever touched your toes or stood on one leg while trying to stretch your quads. All a static stretch is meant to achieve is the elongation of your muscles, which help improve flexibility and range of motion, alleviate soreness caused by knots and tenseness, and aid in relaxation (from the stationary nature of the stretch). Many athletes and gym-goers will incorporate static stretching into their pre and post activity routines for these reasons. If you’re looking for a routine that is not extensively physically cumbersome, static stretching might be for you. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a cooldown routine after a run, or a baseball game, or even activities like gardening or housework.
However, research trends have noticed that too much static stretching can actually be harmful to your body and your performance. Due to the slow and stationary nature of the stretches, doing too much before a labor-intensive activity can negatively impact how you perform! This is where dynamic stretching is taking its place as the optimal pre-activity routine. Dynamic stretching is the complete opposite of static; it requires you to continuously move throughout the duration of the stretch. Your body has a whole bunch of mechanisms, muscles and tissues to be activated and stimulated in order to prepare for activity. Dynamic stretching aims to trigger these key areas and essentially “jumpstart” your body so that you’re ready for the workload to come.
Most athletes or gym-goers will create a dynamic stretch routine that targets the key areas to be worked that day. For example, a soccer player might fine-tunetheir routine to stretches that focus on their legs, like high knees or continuous lunges. A baseball player will orient their dynamic stretches to things that include their arms, like arm circles or skipping, in order to gear up for a lot of throwing and catching. The options are almost endless, which make dynamic stretching a really great addition to any pre-activity routine you already have.
Don’t know where to start with your stretches, or unsure as to which type to engage in before or after your activities? There are tons of dynamic and static stretching guides online, not to mention word of mouth from your teammates or gym partners! As always, consult your health care practitioner before making any big changes to diet or lifestyle.