On many instances, the mention of warming-up and stretching crops up when one speaks of exercising or training in a specific sports. As we mentioned in benefits of warming-up before running, warming-up and stretching are practices that are often confused. Let’s explore the notion of warming-up vs. stretching…
Stretching is a physical exercise in which an individual deliberately stretches or flexes a specific muscles or muscle groups to improve its elasticity, while warming-up refers to using exercises that work the correct muscle groups, raising your body temperature, and increasing your heart rate and blood circulation.
Stretching should always be done at the end of a workout, as the muscles are a lot more warm and pliable, in this manner you are able to get the most out of your stretches and it’s a great feel-good way to conclude your workout, as your body slowly reverts to a relaxed state.
In fact, stretching before your workout actually undermines your warm-up. If you first warm-up, then stretch, your body temperature will drop as you have to stop to perform the stretches. For obvious reasons, your heart rate and breathing rate will drop, which pretty much almost brings you back to square one – with cold muscles and a resting heart-rate. With warming-up, you always perform it before exercising or training, as you are preparing the body for the activities to come.
There are four main types of stretching; static stretching, ballistic,dynamic and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation.
The most popular type of stretching is static stretching, which refers to stretching a muscle until you feel the muscle cannot be stretched further and you hold the stretch for a few seconds. Ballistic stretching is basically a stretch that results from rapid bouncing. Dynamic stretching is the act of moving a joint through a range of motion that is required for a specific exercise or activity. Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation is a stretching motion that is often performed with another person, it involves contractions and relaxations.
When it comes to warming up, there are a variety of ways to warm-up and they are generally related to the activity that you will participate in. For example, doing high-knees for a few minutes before you set off on a run.
Warming-up and stretching both improve blood circulation in the body. There are numerous benefits to stretching. It helps makes the body, joints and muscles a lot more flexible, which in turn allows you to train at a more optimal level. A higher flexibility rate will also reduce your chances of being injured during training. Utilising a proper stretching technique is going to improve your range of motion in the joints. This will assist your balance which in turn, helps your sporting performance.
Stretching also helps to alleviate muscular tightness and tension in the body (if you suffer with this you should use the REBEL Rumble-Roller).
By stretching regularly, you improve your posture that reduces strain in the muscles and joints. Exhibiting proper posture, projects a much more confident image which can transcend into your daily occurrences.
By now you should have a good handle on warming-up vs. stretching – they both have their place, so make sure you incorporate both into your workouts.
Do you warm-up before and stretch after your workouts? What stretches and warm-ups do you most commonly perform that work for you?