Well it’s something that everyone knows they should do, but do we actually stretch properly?
According to research done, stretching is the best way to prevent sports related injuries. What people don’t realize is that if they don’t do it properly their chances of getting muscle injuries are still high. As an active person I can clearly feel the difference in the movement of my body especially while running when I have stretched and done my warm-up.
Some simple tricks to stretching is using sport specific warm-ups or stretches e.g using running as an example, dynamic stretching is important and focus should be on the lower and upper body. Some examples of stetches can be seen here. Here it is explained how long each stretch should be held for and the effect of the stretches on your body and why it is done.
Sport specific stretching allows for the activation of the muscles necessary to carry out a specific movement in a sport. So I really want to encourage you to focus on stretching before exercise, as well as afterwards. It will also prevent Delayed Onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Which as any athlete or sports person would know is not at all ideal for everyday training.
The American Heart association (AHA) did a study on the effect of stretching on overall performance and this is what they found. They explain that with an increase or improvement in flexibility from stretching does not improve endurance or strength, but it does improve overall flow of movement. Stretching should be done 3-5 times during a session according to the AHA and the steps of stretching are explained on their website. Check it out!
Furthermore my experiences have taught me that listening to my body and do what it requires to protect it, it is worth it! Especially when it means you can avoid a injury. Any sports person knows the frustration of an injury. So don’t be stupid (Someone has to say it!) And stretch stretch stretch!
Xoxo Dan the Wooman