Stretching should be always performed with warm up before training and cool down after training.
Stretching is a form of physical exercise in which a specific muscle (or muscle group) are deliberately stretched, often by movement away from the body.
Regular stretching helps:
- Reduce muscle tightening due to ageing
- Increase movement range of joints
- Increased circulation of the blood to various parts of the body which helps increase energy levels and as part of a warm up .
Stretching is used therapeutically to alleviate such things as cramps and to aid in recovery (during a warm down) after strenuous exercise.
There are two type of stretching:
1. Dynamic Stretching
Different forms of warm up:
2. Static Stretching
What Is Dynamic Stretching?
Trainers and experts commonly define dynamic stretching as a kind of stretch that uses low intensity movements similar to the activity to be performed to “stretch” the muscles. Arm circles and walking lunges are common examples of dynamic stretching.
The Benefits of Dynamic Stretching:
What is Static Stretching?
The primary benefit of using dynamic stretching, just before a sporting event or fitness routine, is that dynamic stretches use motions similar to those that the sportsman’s will use during the sports event. For example, doing kicking stretches before football match will effectively warm up the limbs and body to for striking the ball during the match.
Static stretches generally do not involve active movement; they are positions that are held for a predetermined length of time. Static stretches are classified as maintenance or developmental. Maintenance stretches are held for 10 to 20 seconds and designed to maintain your current level of flexibility. Developmental stretches are designed to gradually increase your flexibility and are held for 30 to 60 seconds or longer. Static stretches include touching your toes while seated or pulling your foot up to your buttocks while standing.
Static stretches are usually performed whilst relaxing and it reduces heart rate and body temperature.
The Benefits of Static Stretching:
The major benefit is a concentrated focus on increasing flexibility and range of motion in the joints. This can also be achieved with dynamic stretching, but via static stretching you can target and focus on improving flexibility in specific way. Static stretching is the best stretch to use for aches, pains and cramps. Dynamic stretching can aggravate the injury or niggles. It can be done by almost anyone if performed correctly.
Stretching is an important part of you exercise regimes. Flexible and limber muscles are less prone to injury and improve athletic performance.
Importance of Warm Up during training sessions.
Why do we warm up?
Different forms of warm up:
Passive Warm Up:
- To prevent injuries from occurring during training session
- To raise total body and deep muscular temperature to prepare the entire body for training session
- To stimulate the different body systems, such as the cardiovascular (heart) and nervous system, by gradually increasing the work load on the systems. This will help ensure that they are able to meet the demands of more strenuous activity.
Passive warm up is a way to increase either total or local body temperature without rigorous physical activity. Body temperature is usually increased by external means. For example is wearing additional clothing, sweatshirts, tracksuit with multiple layers of clothing or massaging the muscles with exercise rub. The extra clothing prevents heat loss and raises the body temperature. Passive warm up can be used before stretching for example. However, for the best result passive warm up is recommended to use in combination with active warm up.
Active Warm Up:
There are two types of active warm up.
- General warm up: this is non-specific warm up that utilizes low intensity movements such as walking and or slow jogging to increase muscle temperature.
- Specific warm up: actively involves those parts of the body parts that will be used in the subsequent strenuous activity. An example would be performing lunges to increase muscle flexibility in the quadriceps for football. Specific warm up effectively increases the temperature for the specific body parts that are used during the activity. Note: the warm up should be done in balance with most activity as whole body is usually involved.
- The Effects of warm up on the body is to:
- Increases blood circulation
- This raises both the general body and the deep muscle temperatures, which in turn help to heat up the muscles, ligaments and tendons in preparation for more vigorous activity and to prevent injuries.
- Increases the heart rate gradually,
- To increase oxygen supply to the body. Exercising without warming up, may cause the muscles to work inefficiently as they do not have adequate oxygen supply. This reduces the efficiency of energy production in the body. It forces the muscles to use anaerobic processes to convert carbohydrates into energy and lactic acid is produced as a byproduct. Lactic acid accumulates and the muscles may become tried more quickly.
- To mentally prepare
- Warm up mentally prepares the athlete for an event by clearing the mind, increasing focus, reviewing skills and strategy. Positive imagery can also relax the athlete and build concentration.
Intensity and duration of warm up:
Duration of the warm up is generally 10 to 15 minutes. Intensity depends upon the kind of strenuous exercise environmental temperature and clothes you are wearing. The aim is increase body temperature by one to two degrees Fahrenheit. The rest period between the warm up and the strenuous exercise should not be more than 5 minutes.
Difference between stretching and warm up:
Stretching is not warm up. It is important to warm-up before stretching. If one stretches the muscles without prior warm-up, the muscles are cold and are more prone to injury, such as muscle tear or strain.