A Different Kind of Stretch

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Woman dynamically stretching her legIf you stop by one of Parker’s recreational facilities to work out or enjoy a local sports league game, odds are good you’ll see someone stretching. Stretches are a normal and healthy part of getting ready to be active at any level. Not all stretches are made equal, however. While you’ll still see people touching their toes, dynamic stretching is the more effective way to warm up and prevent injuries.

Traditional static stretching is usually what people think of when they picture stretches. Toe touches, calf stretches, quad pulls, etc.—all of these familiar movements that involve remaining relatively still while pulling muscles a certain way are static stretches. They’re used to increase your muscle flexibility.

Dynamic stretches are different. Rather than standing still and forcibly loosening cold muscles, these coerce your muscles to start moving and generating heat. Generally, these exercises are designed to put your body through a challenging and repetitive motion. This decreases stiffness and gets your muscles firing optimally, so when you start running or jump into a game, your whole body is prepared for the strain.

Why does this difference matter? Well, cold muscles unprepared for the strain of sports are more likely to be injured. They do need a proper warm-up to function at their best. Static stretching, however, isn’t the best method for this. More and more studies show that dynamic stretching prior to your activities helps your body perform at its best in your sports.

This is because the repetitive and vigorous movements increase the blood flow to your muscles and raise their temperature, getting them ready to fire when you need them to. While static methods are important after your activities to keep your muscles flexible, try starting with dynamic stretches instead when you head out on your next run or jump into a pick-up game. In the long run, ready muscles are a better protection against injuries.

Our team at Castle Pines Physical Therapy is more than happy to work with you to establish a healthy dynamic stretching routine, as well as teach you proper technique to avoid injuries. If you’re already struggling with sports injuries, dynamic stretching with physical therapy may be able to help! Make an appointment at our Castle Pines, CO, or Cherry Creek in Denver locations today. Just call (303) 805-5156 to reach us.
Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen, DPM
Founder and Owner of Podiatry Associates, PC
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