Is it Really Important to stretch after a Workout?
Now many of you might ask, Is it really important to stretch after a workout session? You might be in a hurry, not in the mood to stretch or your being lazy or yada yada yadaa……..
Before I actually answer the question, Let’s see what stretching does to your muscles.
Basically, during an intense workout your muscles are under high tension and even after a workout your muscles are still stiff. Therefore they’re prone to injuries and sudden cramps.
To help avoid these, regular stretching helps improve flexibility, increases range of motion and reduces the risk of injury caused by lesions of the connective tissue. Stretching can be done in as little as 5-10 mins, so best not to avoid them!
What is Dynamic Stretching?
As the name suggests, these involve ‘active movements’ where the range of motion(ROM) is maximized to prevent injury and to loosen up the joints and muscles prior to a strenuous workout.
Dynamic stretches should be used as part of your warm-up routine before any athletic event, whether competitive or not.
Research has shown that dynamic stretching is effective for increasing flexibility, maximal muscle strength, sprint and vertical jump performance.
Also, according to research , dynamic stretching may help with leg extension power and improve performance, compared to static stretching or no stretching, Before HIIT exercises.
Here are a few Dynamic Stretches:
1.High Kicks-High kicks help warm up the hamstrings and improve range of motion. You can do them, alternating, as you walk, great to increse blood flow to your legs.
2.Jumping Lunges– It’s the advance version of the ‘lung’. The only thing different is the jump we add in and while you’re in the air, switch your legs so that your forward leg is now behind you and your back leg is now in front of you.
3.Side Shuffle– This one’s more like an agility drill, the Shuffle exercise is a lateral motion that warms up your glutes, hip flexors, quads, calves and hamstrings. And make sure to bend your knees, keep your head up and don’t cross over feet.
What Is Static Strecthing?
Static Strecthings are like the exact opposite of ‘dynamic stretching’ these invlove almost no ‘active movement’. Static stretches are those in which you stand, sit or lie still and hold a single position for period of time, up to about 45 seconds.
Static stretching improve your flexibility and range of motion, it can also help your muscles recover faster after a workout, leading to less pain and stiffness. Static stretching is also a great way to release stress and tension in your muscles, which can help you feel more relaxed
Here are a few Static Stretches:
1.Hamstring Stretch– This is probably a commnly heard stretching exersices. Hamstring stretches can increase flexibility and improve the range of motion in the hip. Both of these benefits will help people perform daily tasks, such as walking up stairs and bending over, with ease.
2.Abdominal Stretch– Stretching the core exercises and trains the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work in harmony. This leads to better balance, stability and prevents back pain.
3.Side Stretch-They lengthen the abdominal muscles, hips, and thigh muscles, while improving flexibility in the spine. Side bends also stretch the muscles between the ribs (the intercostal muscles). Which makes breathing easier in all situations, including aerobic activities.
These were only few exersices of each type mentioned, as they are the most common ones. Although there are several different ones also which can be done.
Stretching does have alot of benefits, It should be made as a habit to perform them before or after a workout to aviod muscle injuries, cramps or tears.
And Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight which in return messes with our body balance.
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