Written By: Kristen Faigle, PT, DPT, OCS, COMT, SportsCare Waldwick Clinical Director
December 11th is National Stretching Day. Stretching is a type of exercise that lengthens connective tissues of muscles and tendons. Stretching regularly has several key benefits including the following:
- Increases mobility and range of motion
- Improves joint function
- Boosts circulation
- Enhances physical activity
- Relieves stiffness and soreness
- Helps to prevent injures
Stretching programs consist of a warm-up, dynamic stretching phase, and cool-down static stretching phase.
A warm-up should be performed prior to engaging in physical activity and consists of low-intensity movements performed for 5–10 minutes to increase blood flow to your muscles. Examples of low-intensity warm-ups include jumping jacks, brisk walking, and jogging in place.
Dynamic stretching should follow the warm-up phase consisting of active movements such as arm and leg circles to prepare the body for repetitive movements.
Static stretching should be performed after physical activity in the cool-down phase. Static stretching slowly takes your muscles to end range to decrease muscle soreness and improve range of motion.
Stretching is an important part of any exercise and wellness program. SportsCare Physical Therapy is here to help you improve your health and performance.
For some examples of each type of stretching, check out our videos below with Tyler VanBenschoten, PT, DPT, and SportsCare Hillsdale Clinical Director.
1. Active Warm-Up:
- Jogging in Place
2. Dynamic Arm Stretches:
- Arm Circles
3. Dynamic Leg Stretches:
- Leg Swings
4. Static Stretch to Prevent Heel Pain:
- Gastroc stretch
5. Static Stretch to Prevent Lumbar & Hip Pain:
- Hamstring Stretch
6. Static Stretch to Improve Shoulder Mobility:
- Posterior & Inferior Capsule Stretch