Stretching the Right Way

Stretching the Right Way

We all know that stretching is important in exercise, but how many of us are actually doing it properly?

Stretching is arguably the most important part of any exercise regimen. When you warm up your muscles and give them a good stretch, you lower the risk of injury, increase your flexibility, and increase circulation. That makes it very important to take stretching seriously.

Consider this scenario: It’s a lovely morning. You woke up early all excited to go for a run after months of inactivity due to your busy schedule. And you start stretching – holding a stretch on your calves, followed with a few jumps. You are now ready and set for your run! Or are you?

Stretching for Success

According to recent research findings, that is the wrong way to warm up. Mr Lim Hun Teck, Chief Physiotherapist of Raffles Rehabilitation Centre, shared: “Stretching before and after a run helps the body stay loose and healthy. Dynamic stretching is ideal prior to exercise to prepare the joints for movement and muscles for optimal activation. Stretches done after muscles are warmed up will improve motion range and avoid injury, which is why dynamic stretches are the way to go. Static stretches, on the contrary, may actually inhibit the muscle’s ability to fire and can actually decrease your performance, strength and power.”

But don’t throw static stretches out totally, noted Mr Lim. Static stretches have their value and are best when you are cooling down or between sports activities since your muscles are already warmed up.

Dynamic Stretching VS Static Stretching

Dynamic Stretching Static Stretching
  • Increases core body temperature
  • Improves muscle flexibility
  • Works multiple muscles
  • Best done during warming up 
  • Ideal for specific muscle injuries
  • Improves flexibility and performance
  • Increases muscle weakness leading to injuries
  • Best done after or in between activities