Dynamic Stretching: Benefits and Techniques
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What do you do to warm up before the big game? If you twist your body and jog in place, you’re doing dynamic stretching. This technique can help you decrease the chances of injury while getting you ready for showtime.
However, you don’t have to be an athlete to reap the benefits. It helps in daily life, too — here are five fabulous benefits of dynamic stretching and six techniques to add to your routine.
Benefits of Dynamic Stretching
If you think of your body as a machine with an on-off switch, dynamic stretching is akin to starting your car on a cold morning. It gets all your fluids circulating and ready for action. It also helps prevent the shock of going from zero to 60 in 2.5 seconds.
Dynamic stretching could significantly benefit chronic pain patients if they adhere to a routine program. According to research published in Science Direct, individuals who stuck to a routine of dynamic back extensor exercises had a significantly better pain status a year later than those who remained sedentary.
How could adding 10 to 15 minutes of dynamic stretching to your morning benefit you? Consider the following five perks.
1. Simulate Performance
Many dynamic stretches simulate the movements you take when working out — or perform activities of daily living. For example, twisting your torso can get you ready to swing a golf club or reach behind you for a hammer when repairing your deck railing.
2. Increase Blood Flow
Dynamic stretching also increases blood flow to the muscles you intend to use. This vital fluid transports oxygen and nutrients your muscles need to perform.
Getting moving with dynamic stretching could boost productivity by increasing blood flow to your brain. Researchers found that those employees who used a standing desk were 23% more productive than those who remained seated.
3. Promote Synovial Fluid Flow
Each of your joints has a fibrous capsule surrounding it that helps hold your bones and ligaments together. The membrane inside this structure emits synovial fluid that helps protect your joints from jarring when you move. Dynamic stretching starts the production of this vital oil around your moving parts.
4. Improve Flexibility
Your range of motion refers to your joints’ capability to go through a complete spectrum of movements. When you get stiff, you don’t bend — you break. Dynamic stretching helps keep you pliable.
5. Develop Bodily Awareness
Finally, dynamic stretching helps build awareness of how your body moves through space. It gives you an understanding and appreciation of your natural abilities.
Techniques for Incorporating Dynamic Stretching Into Your Life
How can you incorporate more dynamic stretching into your life? Create a warm-up routine using the six movements below — you can perform them first thing upon rising from bed in the morning.
1. Leg-Hip Circles
Your hips are an amazingly complex ball-and-socket joint. Get them ready for their full range of movements by bringing your bent leg to hip level and rotating it out to the side. Start with abduction by rotating your leg back and away from your midline, then reverse direction to adduction.
2. Leg Extensions
Many people suffer hamstring tightness from sitting all day, and if you are one of them, ease your ache with leg extensions. Stand tall and extend as far in front of you as possible. Bend and extend the knee joint, being careful not to lock it out and feeling the stretch in your quadriceps when you bend.
3. Ankle Rotation
Begin this motion as if you were starting hip rotations. Rotate your ankle around in one direction and then the other. You can also add this move to a leg extension.
Stand tall — you can use a wall to align your shoulders and buttocks if poor posture plagues you. Then, step away to give yourself space and circle your arms first to the front, then to the back. You can bend your elbows or extend your arm for a broader range of motion.
5. Tai Chi Twists
Begin this move by standing straight and tall with your arms dangling at your sides. Twist your torso from side to side, letting your arms swing. Think of the drum that Ralph Macchio twirled in “The Karate Kid, Part Two.”
This movement loosens your entire spinal column. You can perform this seated or on the floor. For the latter variation, get down on all fours and alternately sink into the saddle of your low back, then round like a scared Halloween kitty.
To perform a seated version, place your hands on your lap and perform the spinal flexion and extension. Doing this movement throughout your workday can loosen lower back pain.
Use These Techniques to Reap the Benefits of Dynamic Stretching
If you want to reduce stiffness and improve how you feel, why not try dynamic stretching? The six techniques above will help you reap the benefits when you practice every day.