The proper way to stretch for warm up and cool down
When we do any kind of physical activity, it is important to take the time to warm up before and cool down after. Many grew up learning that they should stretch to achieve this, more specifically static stretch. This is where you move a joint as far as it can go and hold it for a few seconds. It feels great, but it is actually not the best thing to do before engaging in physical activity. You actually want to perform dynamic stretches.
A dynamic stretch is when you move your joints and muscles in a repetitive sports specific motion. Some examples include: walking lunges, small hip circles and leg pendulums. This type of stretch is preferred because it helps rehearse the movements you will be performing while active and also increases the blood flow to those key muscles. This warms up the muscle and increases their flexibility. It is a more proper warm up that ensures you are ready to be active.
Don’t Give Up on Static Stretching
But there is still a time and place for static stretches. Once you are done engaging in physical activity, static stretches are great to help you cool down. They give all of your joints a big stretch and help them relax.
So next time you go for a run, play a sport or do a workout, make sure to include dynamic stretches before you start and wrap up with some static stretches.
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Reference: Understanding the Difference Between Dynamic and Static Stretching by Cleveland Clinic – X