Stretching is a super important and often underutilised part of exercise. Not only does stretching keep your body limber and flexible but it’s also important to keep your muscles strong and healthy. Without stretching, the muscles can shorten and according to Harvard Health Publishing, when you go to use them, are weak and unable to extend all the way.
You’re across static stretching, but have you tried dynamic stretching? The big difference between the two is movement. Dynamic stretches help warm up your body through movement that mimics the activity you’re about to perform. For example, a swimmer circling their arms before jumping in the water.
Dynamic stretching gets the body moving far more than static stretching and doesn’t involve holding poses for a length of time as the latter does. While each form has a time and a place, you might find dynamic stretching to be useful, especially in the cooler months when you want to warm up your body quicker.
This method can also improve performance and reduce the risk of injury, as you are preparing your body before launching into further exercise. According to Healthline, “Dynamic stretches can also work your joints through side-to-side and full range of motion movements. This helps your joints and muscles move more freely during your workout.”
While athletes have long used this form of stretching to prepare for physical activity, it’s just starting to become more common among regular folks. Research has shown dynamic stretches to be especially beneficial for athletes who engage in running or jumping, like basketball or soccer players.
The same goes for those participating in cardiovascular exercises like swimming, boot camp or running as it can help reduce your risk of getting injured as your muscles are far looser and much warmer. If you’re keen to give dynamic stretching a go for yourself, these include exercises like lunges with a twist, hip circles and arm circles.
For instructions on how to safely complete dynamic stretching, check out Healthline’s handy guide, or check out the plethora of how-to video options on YouTube.