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Stretching Before Exercise: Static vs. Dynamic

Stretching

While making time for exercise may seem like a challenge, we all know the importance of squeezing in even just a few minutes whenever we can. When we do finally make time for that jog, gym session, or simply taking the dog out we may not feel like spending any more time than necessary on our task. No matter if you take a quick walk around the block, or are a professional marathon runner, it’s absolutely crucial to manage your exercise time properly. Thus, it is also important to make time for stretching even if you only have a few minutes.

Static Stretches are Out

If you’re like many people, working stretches into a workout routine may feel like a waste of time. Or perhaps, the idea of dedicating time to stretching may conjure up bad memories of contorting your body before some archaic PE class activities. If you can recall what passed as stretching in your gym class, then you may remember the long, cold stretches where you were asked to hold a clumsy pose for as long as possible, until you couldn’t stand it any longer. Well, the good news is that this type of stretching is out. This is what is known as static stretching, which the American Sports College of Medicine has deemed outdated. The reason static stretching has been ousted is because studies have shown that not only is it ineffective, but it can even be dangerous. Static stretches don’t do any of the things they claim to. For example, static stretches don’t warm up your muscles before a workout. This is just one of the reasons that the static method actually impairs athletic performance, particularly before explosive exercises. Similarly, a poorly stretched body could end in a serious injury, requiring the attention of an athletic injury specialist. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution. Dynamic stretching.

Dynamic Stretches are In

Getting away from the old school world of static stretching before exercising is easy. Simply engage your body a bit more with dynamic stretching. Before any stretching, however, get the blood moving with a quick jog, or brisk walk. It’s fundamental that your body is warm before you do anything remotely strenuous. So, what is dynamic stretching? Well, in a nutshell, dynamic movements look a lot like yoga, which has been proven to be awesome for our bodies time and time again. Just think about the slow, controlled motions in much of yoga and that’s essentially what dynamic stretching is. It’s important to note that, just like yoga, dynamic movements always require proper form. So, before you do anything, be sure to consult reliable sources for what’s best for your physical fitness level. You may also want to consult your physician and ask them which dynamic stretches are best for you. While it may seem like a waste of precious workout time, getting your body properly warmed up and ready to exercise is vital to staying healthy.