Stretching is a very important part to being healthy. It promotes mobility, good posture, better blood flow, and can even relieve pain! When I talk about stretching, I am not talking about the kind where you reach down and touch your toes. Believe it or not, there are different types of stretching that need to be used at different times!
Dynamic Stretching vs. Static Stretching
Dynamic stretching is a form of stretching that involves movement. You are not stretching your muscles in a static position, you are continuously moving. The most important time to perform dynamic stretching is before you do any physical activity!
- Gives you the ability to prepare your body in a more sport-specific way. Depending on what type of physical activity you plan on performing, you can modify your dynamic stretching routine to best prepare you!
- Dynamic mentally prepares you for your workout by exerting more energy during warm up as opposed to static stretching that is more relaxational.
Static stretching when your muscles are cold could cause injury. My rule is to never perform any static stretching before I workout, because when I am moving around as much as possible, I feel my best!
Benefits of Dynamic Stretching
- Increases range of movement
- Blood and oxygen flow to soft tissue prior to exercise
- Reduces risk of injury
- Improves overall balance
- Increases muscle's core temperature to get the most out of your warm up
- Burns more calories than static stretching
- Improves flexibility
There are times and places for static stretching. I usually like to cool down after a workout with some light, very low-intensity movement like biking and then some static stretching. Flexibility is important for injury prevention. I usually dynamic stretch and warm up each time before a hard workout and static stretch around 3 times a week.
My Dynamic Stretching Routine
- High knees x 1 minute
- Butt kicks x 1 minute
- Lunge forward and back x 1 minute
- Body weight squats x 1 minute
- Lateral lunge x 1 minute
- Line hops (over and back) x 40 seconds
- Line hops (side to side) x 40 seconds
- Jump rope x 2 minutes (if I have a jump rope with me)