By Jon Stiffler PTA, Sport Center Manager
Stretching is Important
Stretching is a frequently used tool in orthopedics, but did you know that there are different stretching styles? Dynamic stretching and static stretching are two types of stretching, and they should be done at different periods during a workout.
Dynamic stretching is stretching with movement, and is best done during the warmup of a workout. The movements used during dynamic stretching are similar to the movements done while exercising, but at a lower intensity. The low impact movements allow your muscles to begin activating to warm up for exercise and prevent injury.
Static stretching is when you hold a stretch in a still position, and it is great to perform after exercise. It is important to do static stretching when your muscles are already warm so you don’t strain them. These stretches lengthen and cool down your muscles after exercise, and relieve tension after your muscles are fatigued.
Active stretching involves a series of stretches which require the person to have movement through the stretch. An example would be a series of lunges and squatting motions performed several times while moving in a straight line.
Most Physical Therapists and Certified Athletic Trainers combine the various forms of stretching to get the desired improvements in flexibility.
It is important when stretching to also know your limits! If you push a stretch too far, you are more likely to injure yourself, so it is important to listen to your body.