Monday, March 31

Stretching: The Truth

by JCC Association and One Club

To stretch, or not to stretch before a workout? 

Experts used to claim that stretching before a workout can help decrease the risk of orthopedic injuries; however, more recent research shows that stretching is ineffective for warming up your body. 

Some research is even proving that pre-workout stretching can be harmful to athletic performance*.

As an active person, you may not always be looking for peak performance, but you always strive to be healthy and avoid injury. So what is the best way to warm up? 

A warmup should be designed to move your body in motions similar to the actions you’ll perform during your workout.  If you’re going to do an upper body workout, your warmup must simulate that action in your upper body muscles. 

A warmup should also increase blood flow, which in turn increases muscle elasticity. This process requires elevating the heart rate. 

Dynamic Stretching (DS) is stretching performed by moving a joint through its full range in a challenging but comfortable motion. The goal is to lengthen and shorten a muscle by activating your nervous system, and effect that static stretching doesn't provide.

DS can increase joint range of motion, increase blood flow and increase body awareness, just to name a few benefits. It also requires a fair amount of coordination, which stimulates neuromuscular activity and alertness.

*“Static Stretching Impairs Sprint Performance in Collegiate Track and Field Athletes;” Journal of Strength and Conditioning, Winchester, Nelson, Landin, Young, and Schexnayder.  Vol 22, Number 1, January 2008

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