The truth about stretching and injury
To stretch, or not to stretch? Experts used to claim that stretching before a workout can help decrease the risk of orthopedic injuries; however, more recent research shows that stretching is ineffective for warming up your body. Some research is even proving that pre-workout stretching can be harmful to athletic performance.
As an active person, you may not always be looking for peak performance, but you always strive to be healthy and avoid injury. So what is the best way to warm up?
A warmup should be designed to move your body in motions similar to the actions you’ll perform during your workout. If you’re going to do an upper body workout, your warmup must simulate that action in your upper body muscles. A warmup should also increase blood flow, which in turn increases muscle elasticity. This process requires elevating the heart rate.
Dynamic Stretching (DS) is stretching performed by moving a joint through its full range in a challenging but comfortable motion. The goal is to lengthen and shorten a muscle by activating your nervous system. Static stretching does not have this effect. DS can increase joint range of motion, increase blood flow and increase body awareness, just to name a few benefits. It also requires a fair amount of coordination, which stimulates neuromuscular activity and alertness.
Do not confuse Dynamic Stretching with Ballistic Stretching, where you “bounce” into the stretch. Ballistic Stretches should only be done with the watchful eye of a Personal Trainer or health professional to avoid potential injury.
JCC Personal Trainers and Floor Staff are always available to help you with the proper way to warm up before your workout. If you have any questions about the equipment at the JCC, Fitness Orientations are available every Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. Call the Health and Wellness Desk at 238-2727 to let them know you are coming and wear your workout clothes!
If you are ready for the next step in your fitness journey, the Exceeds Foundations Program includes 2 sessions with a JCC Personal Trainer. After a complete Health Assessment and Fitness Evaluation, our trainers will lead you through an individualized workout session. Call 238-2792 to set up your session.