If you love stretching as much as we do a Feet First Clinic, you’ve probably heard the term dynamic stretching before. Dynamic stretching can help keep your feet healthy, as well as prevent injury during activities like walking, running, and sports. Read on to discover all about dynamic stretching!
What is Dynamic Stretching?
Dynamic stretching is a style of slow movement that takes your muscles and joints through a full range of motion. What many would describe as regular stretching is actually better known as static stretching – where the muscles stay still in an extended position for about 30-60 seconds. Dynamic stretching keeps the muscles and joints moving as opposed to still, improving blood flow and eliminating stiffness.
When Should I do Dynamic Stretching?
Dynamic stretching is great to do before physical activity! The continuous movement helps to warm up muscles and get the body ready for exercise. Dynamic stretching can be done before cardiovascular exercise, such as running or jumping, to prepare the muscles for explosive movements. It can also be done before weight lifting to improve leg extension power. Meanwhile, static stretching is best done after physical activity to help the body cool down and avoid cramping and muscle tightness.
Why is Dynamic Stretching Good for Me?
Studies have shown those who do dynamic stretching before working out experience better range of motion and increased muscle strength. Dynamic stretching can also increase flexibility, specifically in the hamstrings. Another study found that those who did dynamic stretching were able to jump higher than those who did not.
Most importantly, dynamic stretching before physical activity helps prevent injury: Dynamic stretching loosens up your muscles, which helps them better withstand physical exertion. This is important because when muscles are over-exerted, they tighten and become prone to injury. In short, dynamic stretching will not only help you do your favourite exercise more efficiently, but it will also help you work out in a way that is safer for your muscles and joints.
Examples of Dynamic Stretching:
1. Forward Leg Swings
Start standing up, with one foot planted firmly on the ground. With your other foot flexed and lifted off the ground, swing your leg back and forth 10-12 times. Switch sides and repeat.
2. Ankle Circles
Either sitting or standing, lift one foot into the air. Twist your ankle clockwise 10 times, then counterclockwise 10 times again. Return your foot to the floor, then repeat on the other side.
Learn More About Stretching
Dynamic stretching helps get your muscles ready to work so you can enjoy your favourite exercises to the fullest. Now that you’ve learned all the basics, check out the following articles on injury prevention and the best dynamic stretches for your lower body: