Home Yoga Exercises What Happens When You Stretch? And What Happens When You Don’t?

What Happens When You Stretch? And What Happens When You Don’t?

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For years we have been instructed that we have been rubber bands—that if we didn’t stretch we’d flip crusty and snap from disuse. Then we have been instructed that stress was good and that if we have been overstretched, we’d be akin to a unfastened and ineffective rubber band. And now you may be feeling extra like a yo-yo than a rubber band. 

So what’s the precise take care of stretching? What does it do for runners? And when ought to it’s utilized?  Well, that depends upon what sort of stretching you’re speaking about. 

Static vs. Dynamic Stretching

In regards to the rubber band analogy, David Behm, professor within the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation at Memorial University of Newfoundland, describes stretching to be extra of a Goldilocks situation: “You want a tighter but not too tight muscle and tendon,” he says. Static and dynamic stretching serve totally different functions in serving to your body attain that homeostasis wanted to maintain working effectively.  

Static stretching normally entails transferring a joint so far as it would comfortably go after which holding it. A static maintain can final 30 seconds or extra. It’s a really efficient technique to enhance vary of movement, calm down muscle tissue, and stop post-exercise stiffness and soreness. Hurdler stretches or kneeling hip flexor stretches are thought of static. 

Dynamic stretches are managed, lively actions aimed toward serving to your muscle tissue rehearse the kind of motion they’ll be doing whereas working. This type of stretching prompts the muscle, inflicting it to contract and bodily heat up. “It additionally warms up and prepares the nervous system by growing its exercise in anticipation of the exercise,” says Behm. Walking lunges, leg swings, and heel to sky pulses are all examples of a dynamic stretch. 

But stretching isn’t nearly your muscle tissue and tendons. A examine, revealed just lately within the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, discovered that stretching also can decrease blood stress by bodily stretching the blood vessels. The authors discovered that stretching was simpler in doing so than walking was, a standard intervention prescribed for individuals with hypertension. 

When Should Runners Stretch?

When simply becoming the run into your schedule is tough sufficient, you may be tempted to chop corners in your warm-up and cool-down routines. But right here’s why it’s best to contemplate maintaining stretching. 

Stretching Before a Run

Stretching as a part of a warm-up appears to be the place essentially the most confusion is available in. It’s a standard query: Should you stretch earlier than working? 

Static stretching, when held in lengthy durations, can really trigger you to tense up and get tighter, which isn’t what you need proper earlier than going for a run. “A static stretch would be great if we were about to go hold a static position for an hour. But when we’re running we’re about to go do repeated muscle firing for a set duration. We need to be getting our bodies ready for that physiological movement, not a 30 second static hold,” says Mackenzie Wartenberger, head coach of the University of Wisconsin’s women’s cross nation crew and assistant observe and discipline coach.

Instead she recommends specializing in dynamic stretches as a part of your warm-up routine. The concept is to push your vary of movement. “It’s all about pushing right to the point where you can feel it — it should feel a little bit like you’re on the edge of that range of motion—and then immediately backing off,” she says. That course of needs to be repeated three to 5 instances, aiming to go two % deeper on every repetition. “That contraction or extension depending on what movement you’re doing that’s rapid and repeated, warms your muscles up and it gets your muscles and tendons firing.”

Nell Rojas, a strength and working coach and professional runner herself, agrees that dynamic stretching needs to be integrated into the mobility work in a warm-up. “It kind of tricks your muscles, neuromuscularly, to relax,” she says. “You’re not getting any lengthening in your muscles, but your body will be able to relax a little bit.” 

Behm’s analysis has confirmed that some static stretching in a warm-up is ok. Some coaches like to include a static hip stretch into the warm-up, for instance. “If static stretching is incorporated within a full warm-up, there are trivial effects on performance,” he says. “Static stretching can decrease muscle and tendon injuries, especially with explosive actions, but stretching does not decrease the incidence of all cause injuries.”

Here are the important thing muscle tissue you’ll wish to stretch in a warm-up:

  • Plantar flexors
  • Hip extensors
  • Hamstrings
  • Adductors
  • Quadriceps 

Stretching After A Run

We’ve all been there; racing residence after a exercise to get different to-do duties crossed off our lists. But in actuality, skipping a post-run stretch will do extra hurt to your body than good. “The science that’s out there now is that static stretching is fantastic for the end of your cool-down. It’s a great chance to kind of lengthen your muscles and fascia and tendon fibers and kind of restore some mobility,” says Wartenberger. 

Wartenberger’s athletes start cooling down with walking drills, transferring out and in of dynamic stretches. “Everything is really short and gentle,” she says. Only after foam rolling and permitting their our bodies to fully cool do they go into static stretching. “If you’re not really prepared for static stretching, it can really do more harm than good,” says Wartenberger. Foam rolling first can calm down the muscle tissue and enhance vary of movement, which assist cut back the danger of damage when going right into a static stretch. 

This type of stretching opens up your vary of movement and will increase flexibility; not stretching drastically reduces mobility within the joints and muscle tissue, which will increase your danger for damage—particularly for runners, who continuously place stress on the muscle tissue.

“Reduced flexibility in the muscle and joint leads to a change in biomechanics or normal function and contributes to increased tension at the tendon. For example, someone with tight quadriceps is more likely to develop patellar tendonitis because the tight muscle pulls on the tendon attachment at the patella, creating increased tension, inflammation, and pain,” says Anna Munoz, a former athletic coach and present product specialist at DJO, a medical gadget producer that develops orthopedic and mobility options.

Just 5 minutes after a exercise is required to be able to stretch out the quadriceps and surrounding muscle tissue to forestall patellar tendonitis.

Many runners even have tight hip flexors and hamstrings, explains Munoz. Forgetting to stretch these muscle teams can result in knee ache too. “A patient will be prescribed exercises to both strengthen and lengthen the quadriceps, hip flexors, and hamstrings.” These muscle tissue constantly pull on the patella. If they’re tight, it would pull and trigger extra ache. Keep your muscle tissue unfastened and limber with an excellent stretch to assist forestall ache.

Here are the important thing muscle tissue you’ll wish to stretch in a cool-down:

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • IT band
  • Calves
  • Piriformis
  • Psoas
  • Glutes
  • Hip flexors/groin

The extra you incorporate stretching into your routine, the extra you’ll perceive what does and doesn’t give you the results you want. Try these runner-approved stretches to get you started.

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