It used to be that experts recommended a good stretch before
and after exercise, but now, some say we should nix it all together. Going out
on the field with stiff, “cold” muscles is no good, though. What’s the real
deal on stretching? Here are the three things you’ve gotta know before ya get
up ‘n’ go.
Touching your toes for 15 seconds before starting a game
used to be the norm, but now, scientists have discovered that moves like that,
or “static stretches,” are actually bad for you. They make injuries more likely
and make your muscles weaker. And just so ya know, when you’ve been stretching
your arm for a while and then feel like it can stretch more, that’s your mind
playing tricks on you. You’ve only gotten used to the painful, uncomfortable
feeling that the stretch is giving you, and you’re not really loosening up your
So What Now?
Fortunately, there’s a new brand of stretching in town, and
it’s called “dynamic.” These dynamic stretches are moves that introduce your
muscles to the kind of actions they’ll be doing in the upcoming workout. So
instead of pulling on your muscles to hold certain positions, these stretches
get your blood flowin’ and your muscles loosened. They vary depending on which
sport you’re prepping for, so focus on the parts of the body that you’re
plannin’ on using.
When you’re warming up, it’s not enough to just do a few
dynamic stretches. Before those, you should wake your bod up with a light jog,
no matter what sport you’re gettin’ into. But be careful – you shouldn’t warm
up too early or with too much intensity. If you’re gonna be coolin’ it on the
bench for another half hour, wait on those warm-ups for a few more minutes.
Then make sure you time your 5 to 10 minutes of easy jogging so that you can do
it and a few dynamic stretches right before ya hit the field.
So next time you’re
gearing up for a workout, give your muscles the right kinda warning, gals. Skip
the static, and go for dynamic!
BY CARRIE RUPPERT ON 7/24/2012 12:24:00 PM
POSTED IN fitness, sports, running