1st Thing To Know, It's Non-Negotiable, Make The Time To Do It, Do It Right And Do It Consistently!
Let's begin by explaining the differences between the types of stretching and learn to listen to your body to know how much long you need to stretch. Balance is important! I'm sure many of you have heard that its important to stretch first as well as after your training session. To clarify, dynamic stretching is the warm up movement along with lengthening the muscles and static stretching is a non movement stretch, where you hold, while lengthening the muscles.
Understanding The Differences, What Kind Of Stretching Are You Doing?
Dynamic stretching is an active stretch, which means the muscles are being stretched during the movement as a form of a warm up. This allows oxygenated blood to flow to the tendons and muscle fibers, increasing joint range of motion and muscle fiber activation. To mention a few examples, shoulder circles, leg swings, side bends, hip circles, 1/2 squats, anterior, posterior pelvic tilts, cat and cow and a lot of other yoga moves are forms of dynamic stretching. It's ideally to use this type of stretching/warmup before any exercise program. Just make sure to use slow controlled moments through the full range of motion and listen to your body.
Static stretching requires muscles to be warmed up prior to static stretching to prevent risk of injury. When the muscles are held in a non movement (static) position to lengthen the muscle fibers, it allows the muscles to release tension and increase flexibility. It's my opinion that the best time to static stretch is right after a resistance/strength training session and /or cardio session.
How long should I static stretch?
Hold your stretch position 30secs to 1 min as needed based on the tightness of your muscles, until a feeling of release. Even if it's a slight release of tightness. Allow your muscles to lengthen in the right direction, focusing on your breathing, using your exhales as a cue to allow your body to release in the stretch with each breath.
Have great posture and balance and relieve aches and pains
Activities of our daily living can tighten certain muscles and over work others. This causes muscle imbalances and ultimately postural deviations. We start to experience Aches and pains and think "my body is falling apart" the though is it comes with get older, but soon we realize the importance of mobility and having a life that is pain-free. So what does that tell you? "You Got To Stretch!" Proper length of time and consistency is key! Don't neglect your body and what it needs. Keep in mind, your body works as a unit, so make sure you stretch upper and lower body. Don't feel you don't have the time, you don't have the time not too.
Paying attention to your breathing and releasing as much as you can, any tension you may be in while stretching. Remember, you shouldn't be in excruciating pain. Any sharp pain, stop immediately! Feeling uncomfortable is normal. Stick to it and keep your mind right. FOCUS ON BREATH, LENGTHEN YOUR MUSCLES AND RELAX BODY IN STRETCH! 30 SECS TO 1 MIN.
Follow these steps be successful .
To walk you through the thought process while stretching you should,
1- clear your mind and before you begin to move into the stretched position, take a deep breath in and begin the movement towards lengthening your muscles.
2- move slow and controlled, using your exhales as a mental check in to allow your body to relax in the stretch. Tension can't release tension.
3-focus on your breaths and allow your self to lengthen the muscle properly in the right direction. As you exhale allow your body to gently go further n the stretch, without forcing it harshly.
4-be patient with yourself, there is no rush. Hang out and love your body. Give your muscles what they need.
5- know that the more you give yourself the time, consistency to stretching, you'll be able to be more mentally in tune with your body and your flexibility will increase. That's when you'll begin to really love it. You'll feel how your body loves you for it!
If you have any questions or would like to have guided training to fully experience what proper stretch is and can do. Feel free to call me anytime.