There are two different types of stretching – While one warms up your muscles pre-workout, the other benefits your body after you exercise. Let’s examine the difference between dynamic and static stretching.
Dynamic Stretching (pre-workout)
Dynamic stretching puts your muscles through the range of motion they will typically experience during a workout. This process of moving all your muscles and joints is a great way to prepare for exercise. It boosts circulation and loosens your body for the activity it’s about to experience.
One example of a dynamic stretch is hip circles. For this stretch, you stand on one leg and rotate your other leg in a circle. This opens up your hip, loosens the hip joints and fires up the hip/core muscles.
Static Stretching (post-workout)
Static stretching requires very little movement. All you have to do is hold a stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, and repeat for several reps.
Practice static stretching only after you exercise, when your muscles are already warmed up and loose. Recent studies have shown that static stretching before a workout can actually lead to decreased performance and a higher risk of injury.
One example of static stretching is touching your toes to stretch your hamstring muscles. You can do this either standing up or sitting down. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds before adjusting your position.
Why We Stretch
Both types of stretches help reduce injury—during exercise and after you’ve left the gym. Additionally, flexibility and muscle strength are the keys to staying agile as you age. Not stretching can lead to tight muscles which can tear if you push yourself too hard. So remember to keep your limbs loose with both dynamic and static stretches!