Proper Stretching Technique to Stay Healthy All Summer

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By Rachel Amarosa

With summer quickly approaching, people are more active and more likely to participate in various activities and events. There are steps you can take to stay pain free and enjoy the activities you love.

One way to prevent injury is by having a proper warmup routine before the activity and cooldown routine afterward. Both include 10 minutes of stretching.

In general, there are a few different types of stretching. The real question is which is best and when?

First, it’s necessary to understand why stretching is so important. Stretching, especially prior to a workout or athletic event, loosens your muscles and tendons to increase flexibility and range of motion. It also promotes blood flow and circulation to the muscles. Certain types of stretching can increase your body temperature. When your muscles and body are warm from 10 minutes of a warmup/stretching routine, they work more efficiently, maximizing your performance and reducing your risk of injury.

As mentioned above, there are several different types of stretching; however, people often do some static stretching or nothing at all. Static stretching is when you hold or sustain a position to stretch a joint or muscle, typically for up to 30 to 60 seconds. The focus is on relaxing the area you are stretching to go further into the range of motion.

Research has shown that static stretching can relax the body too much, causing little to no rise in body temperature, which may inhibit the ability for the muscles to fire. Therefore, static stretching is a more effective technique during cooldown because it doesn’t prepare the body well enough for activity.

So, what type of stretching should you do?

Dynamic stretching uses active muscle effort and momentum to stretch muscles to the end of range without holding. For example, walking lunges with a twist is a type of dynamic stretch that helps stretch and warm up your legs, hips, back and core muscles. Dynamic stretching will also better prepare your body for different types of movement. It will increase your flexibility, range of motion and body temperature, which will greatly reduce risk of injury.

Dynamic stretching is viewed as an efficient way of stretching and warming up. Research shows it will improve the flexibility of your muscles and joints and is the best way to maximize your movements and improve performance.

Be proactive this summer. Prevent injury by implementing a 10-minute dynamic stretching program before activity and a static stretching routine afterward to keep doing the activities you love.

For more information about stretching or about how to get a program designed for you, call ProClinix Sports Physical Therapy & Chiropractic 914-202-0700 and ask for Rachel.

Rachel Amarosa is a certified athletic trainer at ProClinix Sports Physical Therapy & Chiropractic in Armonk, Pleasantville and Ardsley. For more information about the clinic its facilities, visit www.ProClinix.com.

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