Monday, June 6, 2011

Stretch It Out

How do you prepare for a run or activity?  Make sure you incorporate stretching into your routine to increase your performance.  Let's lean about the different types of stretching:

Dynamic warm ups are a great way to prepare the whole body for activity!  This is an "active" form of stretching.  Dynamic stretching works to elevate your heart rate, increase core temperature, and prepare the body/mind with functional movements.  Remember, this does not include bouncy or "jerky" movements (otherwise known as ballistic stretching).  Dynamic warm ups help to decrease injury, prepare you to become mentally focused,  increase speed/force, reduce muscle stiffness, and increase fluid to lubricate the joints. 

Static stretching is best used when the body is already warm such as at the end of your cool down.  The main focus is to increase range of motion (ROM).  Make sure you hold static stretches for at least 30-90 seconds to reap the benefits.

Foam rolling or myofascial massage (soft tissue therapy) is another way to stretch even deeper.  This form of stretching feels like a deep tissue massage that you can perform on your own by applying pressure and "rolling" it out.  It is best to do this as part of your cool down after or along with static stretching.  Foam rolling will increase flexibility, reduce muscle tension and help you heal quicker.  Products such as Trigger Point Therapy have excellent tools that are also portable.

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