So much has been said about stretching exercises, more so dynamic stretching, which can never be overemphasized enough. Both in online and offline media outlets, you will find dynamic stretching highly recommended and even though the idea is not as new as other things today, it is the problem of people becoming very slow to embrace change and resentfully hanging on to old habits. Stretching prior to any physical fitness activity has always been recommended. Otherwise referred to as warm up, stretching prior to exercise helps untangle muscles and joints preparing them for the upcoming exercises and at the same time boost blood circulation in the body to facilitate effective exercising.
It is because of the huge effect that warm up has that manufacturing companies and various warehouse settings have scheduled low intensity workouts prior to starting a shift, to help motivate and keep the workers active. By engaging in such low intensity exercises, companies record decreased cases of injuries and in place get increased mental alertness and performance as it facilitates blood flow.
According to some recent studies from the Center for Disease Control and another one conducted by the University of Nevada, dynamic stretching is slowly but increasingly gaining in popularity. You see the ‘static’ or ‘old school’ stretches, i.e. the one where one holds a position under some intense tension for around 20 and 30 seconds, although effective in warming up the body by enhancing muscle length, after some while they have proven to deteriorate priming of muscles when it comes to injury.
According to the researches, Dynamic stretching was very effective in reducing the incidences of injury but also enhanced overall performance and boosted strength and flexibility significantly compared to static warm up stretches or no warm ups at all. The secret here seems to be the ability to boost the flow of blood so as the muscles that facilitate high performance are well oxygenated and effectively warmed up to ensure they withstand weight and loading forces. The good thing is that the rewards are not only substantial but very practical in all physical fitness settings and various sporting activities. The benefits of exercise in enhancing mental performance is also widely known and accepted the world over.
With that being said, what really is this dynamic stretching? It can be described as gently performed sequences of leg and arm rotations in a gentle controlled way. While these routines can be tailored to a specific sport, something as light as jogging can qualify for dynamic stretching. It doesn’t mean you should be a professional athlete to do dynamic stretching; your basis could be brisk walking with good body posture. Just like in any other form of workout today, you will need to be very mindful of your posture since a bad posture can do more harm than the good that the dynamic stretching would have brought in.
By warming up, you are ensuring your muscles and the tendons become pliable enough to create neuromuscular signals that will excite your muscles enough to make them ready and strong enough to perform. Luckily with dynamic stretching, you can be able to tailor the exercises and activities to suit your fitness level. The other good thing with dynamic stretching is that you wouldn’t need any special equipment to get started. Here is a typical 5 minute stretching routine that can get you started on your way to health and fitness. This dynamic stretching example is tailored for any exercise or sport as it hits all muscle groups in the body and what is more, it is very easy to master.
- Take 45 seconds and jog as you switch from regular jogging to kicking your back with your legs, shuffling, high knees and all else in between.
- Stretch your arms out towards the sides as you twist left right and centre
- Do five trunk circles towards the right and left i.e. bending at the waist and making circles using your body
- Do 5 reverse lunges for each leg
- Do ten side bends, 5 on the left and 5 on the right
- Do ten push ups
- Do ten sit ups
- Do twenty bird dogs with 10 on each side. Bird dog is basically extending opposite arms and legs upwards while on your knees position
- Do ten back extensions i.e. lying on your stomach and raising your upper body from the floor
- Take a runner’s starting position and do ten feet to hands with 5 for each side.
- Take ten air squats
- Do ten dead lifts while on slightly bended knees
- Do twenty opposite hands kicks taking 10 for each side as you kick your leg up, stand up, and touch using your opposite hand
NB: To be able to have the most effective dynamic stretching session, in order to untangle your muscles and make them loose, always finish your dynamic stretching session with another mild stretch out.