Exercise greetings from Just n Motion!
This month we are going to focus on How to stretch and prepare your joints and muscles for running and prior to physical activity – Pro-Athlete-style
Some of you may find yourselves in the dark about stretching so let’s start with the answer to a few basic questions I get asked frequently:
What is Stretching?
Stretching is a physical activity that involves the movement of a joint into a biomechnical position that improves the flexibility of the muscle as well as the eccentric/ lengthening component of the muscle.
Why is stretching important?
Stretching is the most important part of any workout or physical activity, as it prepares the muscles for the strain that is to come. It also helps the muscles stay limber after a workout, and practicing it regularly can help prevent injuries and Promote flexibility and strength.
When the muscles are stretched, they are extended to a resistance point and held there momentarily. This helps the muscles, but it also helps joints by keeping them moving freely.
How do I know which muscles to stretch?
It is very important to understand your body and to identify which muscle groups need to be stretched in order to improve your physical activity. Consulting an exercise professional will help you during this process as you will then be able to identify those muscle groups that require more flexibility to enable you to achieve your goals.
So what stretches must I do and when?
There are different forms of stretching, most commonly static stretching and dynamic stretching.
Static Stretching are stretches performed when the body is at rest and the muscle is elongated into a specific position for a period of time as prescribed eg: 3 x 30 secs. There are various techniques that can be followed in a static position.
*Read the following link —> for the advantages and disadvantages of static stretching.
Dynamic stretching involves movement and muscular effort for the stretch to occur. The stretch is performed by moving through a challenging but comfortable range of motion repeatedly, usually 10 to 12 times. This form of stretching must be smooth and controlled.
*Read the following link —> for the advantages and disadvantages of dynamic stretching.
In short, my HOW TO stretch like an athlete top tips:
When preparing for an activity such as running, make use of dynamic stretching to warm up your muscles and joints to help you improve your performance.
*Check out this Youtube clip of a dynamic warm up routine
Make use of static stretching as part of your cool down, especially focusing on those muscle groups that are of biomechanical or postural concern.
5 basic static stretches
(all stretches to be performed for 30 secs repeated x3)
Good luck to all of you running the Two oceans and remember…do the RIGHT stretches and run like the wind!!!
*Written by our health and fitness guru Justin Oelofsen • Owner and exercise specialist at Just n Motion.
*Check me out on Instagram @oelofsenjustin for more cool stretching techniques!