Stretching Before & After Physical Activity

By stretching on a regular basis the muscles and joints within a person’sbody will be able to bend, twist, and reach with ease. This is because when the body stretches it makes muscles easier to bend and move while at the same time retraining the nervous system to become more adaptable to the new capabilities of muscle movement created by stretching. Two of the most recognized methods of stretching are static stretching (conventional method of stretching) and dynamic stretching (aerobic stretching). A common confusion within warming up before a work out or sporting event is that you are supposed to do static stretching before and after you work out to avoid injury.

In a paper published by the McGill University press, Dr. Ian Shrier the author demonstrates that the misconception of warming up is not to make sure that the musclesand joints in the body are as loose as possible but rather to make sure that the body temperature of muscles are raised. The importance of making sure that the muscles temperature is warmer is based off of how m

uscles move and contract between each movement. The more physically warmed up muscles are the easier it is for your muscles to move as well as allow better blood flow to circulate during a workout or activity. Because of the body temperature that muscles are brought to during the warm up and the way blood flows during the process will in fact cause a person to be using less energy during their work out or physical activity.

Conventional stretching before exercise can make your muscles weaker, even slower and possibly cause an injury. This is due to the fact that when people stretch in order to loosen their muscles they are slightly tearing apart the muscle tissues that they need to perform their workout or sport. Static stretching can also risk pulling a muscle by stretching really hard. For gymnasts and professional dancer’s static stretching is essential in order for them to achieve certain flexibilities and muscle movement that are essential to their sport and might not be achieved without stretching. But for other athletes such as hockey, and basketball players; or even gym enthusiasts it is not recommended to statically stretch because it can negatively impact overall performance due to factors such as fatigue and potential muscle injury.

Fitness and nutrition expert, Obi Obadike, talks about the importance of properly warming up and cooling down before and after his workouts. Obi amongst other athletes explains that the best way to warm up before working out or performing in sports is to warm up through aerobic stretching. He explains and further supports data found by Dr. Shrier highlighting that warming up your muscles as opposed to loosening them will make physical activity less energy absorbent. Obadike continues on by explaining how having warmed up muscles and blood flow will deliver healthier amounts of oxygen and nutrients back into the muscles that are being used. The colder muscles are when working out and when participating in sports can be more what attributes to sports related injuries then lack of stretching. It is only after a work-out when muscles are tense that doing static stretching is the best way to cool down to avoid short term pain and long term injuries.           

If you are interested in more helpful stretching techniques or would like to book an appointment with any of our practitioners. We offer physiotherapy, naturopathic medicine, kinesiology, massage therapy, chiropractic, treatment and rehabilitation of motor vehicle accidents, WSIB, compression stockings and custom made orthotics. We are conveniently located in North York, at Yonge and Sheppard, a short walk from the Sheppard-Yonge TTC subway station.

 

 

Refrences:

Dynamic vs static stretching guide. Digital image. Peakpowersport.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 June 2017. <http://peakpowersport.com/running-tips/3-ways-to-prevent-running-injuries/>.

Obadike, Obi. “Should I Stretch Before my Workouts.”Body Building.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 June 2017.

Shrier, Ian. “Does Stretching Help Prevent Injuries.” (2006): 36-58.McGill University Press. Web. 3 June 2017.

“Staticstretching.jpg.” Breakingmuscle.com, Shutterstock, breakingmuscle.com/view-image?src=images/bydate/20130912/staticstretching.jpg. 

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