Stretching is an important component of physical fitness since without it you risk injury and also joints stiffening.
There are 2 types of stretches Dynamic and Static stretches both of which can:
- Help you maintain flexibility.
- Prepare your body for vigorous activity
- Help your body recover and relieve pain after a workout.
The difference between the two is;
- Dynamic stretches are done by repeatedly moving your joints through a full range of motion
- An example is a single leg swing.
- They are best done before a workout.
- Can help loosen your muscle and increase your range of motion, hence less likely to injure yourself.
- Help in flexibility and prevention of injury.
- They can improve the performance of an athlete before training.
- Warm up first before you get into a mini stretch session. The goal is to heat up, loosen up and bring blood flow to your joints and muscles, but not to tire yourself out before you have even begun your routine. You can warm up by skipping rope, jumping jacks or even walking lunges.
- Involves holding a stretch for some time, stretching your muscles to a point where you feel slight discomfort, then hold for some few seconds.
- Best done after a workout.
- An example is the hamstring stretch, where you sit on the floor with your legs together stretched out, then you lean forward until you feel some strain, and then hold.
- Able to improve flexibility
- Avoid static stretches if your muscles are cold. Perform a short warm –up to get the blood flowing on your joints.
Points to Note:
- Ensure you are stretching correctly.
- Don’t limit stretching to after weight or a run, as most people do.
- Strength training will increase your stretching tolerance.
- Don’t Stretch too quickly (without warming up) or too far(to a point you are experiencing pain).