Unfortunately most of us just can’t move around like we used to when we were kids. Remember the days of running around like a headless chook without so much as a stiff back or a tight muscle? Sadly, ageing takes its toll. Our bodies just don’t bounce back the way they once did. Therefore, the importance of a proper warm up and cool down is crucial to avoiding sports injuries.
This article is particularly timely given the start of the winter sports season is upon us. At Pakenham Osteopathy, we want to keep you active and enjoying the sports you love!
In this first 3 part series we’ll explore:
PART 1: Understanding dynamic vs static stretching
PART 2: Warming Up
PART 3: Recovery
PART 1: DYNAMIC VS STATIC STRETCHING
Most of us have stretched at some point in our lives and nearly all of us have been told we are not doing it enough! You may have heard about two main types of stretching, dynamic and static, and with scientific research into athletic performance forever evolving, the timing of when to use each of these is frequently spoken about.
So before we jump into part 2 and 3 of the series explaining what we should include in our warm up and recovery protocols, we need to understand the difference between these two categories of stretching.
Think back to primary school when your PE teacher would take you through a couple of stretches before or after activity. You’d stretch your hamstrings by bending over to touch your toes, hold it for 30 seconds, and compete with your mates to see who could reach the furthest. This type of stretching where you hold yourself in a position for an extended period of time is what we call static stretching. The goal… to elongate your muscles to allow for greater flexibility.
Picture your favourite AFL team warming up before their big game, holding on to a teammates shoulder and swinging their legs back and forth. This is what we call dynamic stretching which requires active movement, taking our joints through its full range of motion with the goal of getting the body prepared for the type of movements specific to that particular sport.
SO WHEN SHOULD WE USE THESE!?
- Day to day flexibility
- Cool down and recovery
- Warm ups
- Active recovery
I hope the information above helps you prepare for and recover on game day.
For the upcoming 2nd part of this series, we’ll drill down on the warm up and how you can best prepare for your chosen sport.