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Stretching

 

Stretching is very important to any athlete.  Within the past few years, the debate over which is better: dynamic stretching or static stretching has grown.  Dynamic stretching is a movement that takes the muscle through its complete range of motion and is best used before exercise.  Dynamic stretching can also be tailored to sport-specific exercises.  Static stretching is placing the muscle in a gentle stretch position and holding for 15-30 seconds.  This form of stretching is best used after exercise.  

To properly stretch, athletes should perform a warm-up such as brisk walking, riding a bike or jogging for 5 minutes.  This will help warm up the muscles and get the blood moving.  Next a series of dynamic stretches should be performed, and then the practice/weight lifting/game/event can take place.  After exercise, static stretching should be performed to prevent and reduce muscle soreness 

Timing is important when stretching.  Stretching should be done immediately before the exercise is to begin.  If an athlete stretches prior to a 20 minute bus ride, all of the stretching will need to be re-done.  Positioning is also important.  The athlete should not feel pain when stretching, it should be a gentle lengthening of the muscle till they feel a good stretch and then hold in that position.  Overstretching is caused by placing too much tension on the muscle.  This can cause microscopic tears in the muscle fibers and lead to further injury. 

 The more flexible you are, the faster you will be able to run, and the higher you will be able to jump.