The Importance of Stretching Before Physical Activity

The Importance of Stretching Before Physical Activity

You may think of stretching as something needed only for athletes or people who workout all the time; however, this is not the case. At Goodyear Chiropractic Health Center, we want you to know that stretching before any type of physical activity, no matter how big or small, is crucial for many reasons. 

Why Stretching Is Important

Stretching keeps your muscles flexible, strong and healthy. Without flexibility, your muscles can shorten and become tight, resulting in muscle weakness and inability to perform physical activity. This puts you at risk for joint pain, strains and muscle damage.

Additional Benefits of Stretching:

  • Decreases muscle stiffness and increases range of motion
  • Reduces your risk of injury
  • Helps relieve post-exercise aches and pains
  • Improves posture
  • Reduces or manages stress
  • Promotes circulation
  • Decreases the risk of low-back pain

Types of Stretching

Static Stretching

Static stretching means a stretch is held in a challenging position for a period of time, usually somewhere between 10 to 30 seconds. This is the most common form of stretching and is considered safe and effective for improving overall flexibility.

Static stretching should be performed with warm muscles, such as after a warm-up or at the end of a workout.

Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretching involves active movements where joints and muscles go through a full range of motion. They can be used to help warm up your body before exercising. An example of dynamic stretching is alternating knee lifts. This movement repeatedly stretches your hamstrings while also keeping your body in motion.

PNF Stretching

PNF stands for Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation. This type of stretching is often referred to as partner stretching because two people are needed to perform the movements.  An example of PNF is a hamstring stretch where one person lies on their back with their right leg extended straight up into the air. The second person holds the ankle and gently presses the leg towards the other person’s head to stretch the hamstring. Meanwhile, the individual being stretched actively pushes against their partner’s pressure. The pressure is released and then the stretch is repeated.

Ballistic Stretching

This type of stretching uses bouncing movements to create momentum which moves the muscle into the stretch. For example, instead of holding a hamstring stretch you would quickly reach towards your toes and release repeatedly in short controlled pulses.

How to Start Stretching

The idea of starting a stretching regimen may seem overwhelming, but you don’t have to stretch every muscle you have. The areas critical for mobility are in your lower extremities, including your calves, hamstrings and hip. Stretching your shoulders, neck, and lower back is also beneficial. At Goodyear Chiropractic Health Center, we recommend starting slowly by stretching three or four times a week, and then building up to stretching daily.  

Why Choose Goodyear Chiropractic Health Center

Stretching once a day won’t magically increase your flexibility. You’ll need to do it over time and remain committed to the process. At Goodyear Chiropractic Health Center, out specialists can assess your muscle strength and tailor a stretching program to fit your needs. To schedule a consultation, click here!