Warming up before a workout is essential as it will help prepare your body for the strenuous physical activity you will be doing. Stretching, in particular, is a great way to warm up as it can help prevent injuries and muscle soreness.
Static vs. Dynamic Stretching
Static stretching involves muscle groups being stretched by holding a particular static position until it becomes more flexible. This stretching method is often used in sports and is also very useful in muscle recovery after an intense workout. It's also very good in relieving muscle tightness, especially before a workout.
Dynamic stretching involves muscle groups being stretched by doing movements at the same time when the muscles are stretched. The muscle groups are stretched through movement, and this stretching method is often used in physical therapy. This type of stretching is a good way to warm up muscles before a workout as it helps get more blood flowing to the muscles, therefore, getting the body ready for movement.
How Long Should You Be Stretching for a Warm-Up?
The amount of time you should be stretching for a warm-up is about five to ten minutes. Stretching for a longer period of time will not gain a lot of benefits, and it may even increase your risk of injury. Most flexibility and strength gains come just by the first five minutes of a stretch. After ten minutes, you are just reaching your limit of flexibility.
Stretching and Your Flexibility Level
Before stretching, you should check how flexible your limbs are and how you're able to compare to the flexibility of others your age. This is important because it will help you know if you should stretch or not to get the best results.
Muscle fibres that are stretched regularly will become more elastic, therefore, able to return to their normal length faster after a workout. The more elastic your muscles are, the higher your flexibility is. Also, stretching is always a great way to relieve muscle tightness.
You should always stretch a muscle group that's tight or tense, as this will have the most effect on improving flexibility. Stretching also helps improve the range of motion commonly used in daily activities.
Basic Warm-Up Stretches
Here are a few stretches that you can incorporate into your warm-up exercises.\
Sit on the ground, stretch your arms forward, and then reach for your toes. Hold for two seconds and repeat ten times.
Start in the push-up position, then bend the knees and place the arms on the ground. Put the stomach on the thighs, and finally, place the head on the ground. Hold for two seconds and repeat ten times.
Standing up, lift the right leg, hold it and pull it towards the buttocks using the left hand. Hold for two seconds and repeat ten times.
Stand upright, then put both your hands on a wall and lean forward. Then put one leg in front of the other. Hold for two seconds and repeat ten times.
Stand upright, then take a small step forward. Bend the knees and lower the left knee to the ground. Then rise up and repeat the same process with the other leg and repeat ten times.
Stretching before a workout is essential because it helps to relieve muscle tightness, reduce the risk of injury, and prepare the body for intense physical activities. Stretching also increases flexibility and range of motion, making it easier to do daily activities.
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