A good stretch will do you (and your spine) good
by Sherry McAllister, DC, executive vice president, Foundation for Chiropractic Progress
Chiropractic care is one of the best things that you can do for your body and overall health. Your doctor of chiropractic is interested in helping your body stay in balance through non-invasive measures like spinal adjustments. He or she may offer other advice to help keep you on the right track. Enter dynamic stretching.
There’s something about maintaining a regular stretching routine that goes hand in hand with regular chiropractic care. Here’s why:
Maybe you’re the type who doesn’t stretch at all or maybe you already take 5 minutes for a quick warm-up before a workout. Regardless, it’s time you learned about dynamic stretches, which use more of the body and better prepare muscles and joints.
Static, the opposite, means holding a position for a period of time with lesser challenge to the body. These stretches can actually inhibit the muscles’ firing ability during exercise. Think of the kinds of stretches you learned in gym class growing up.
Dynamic stretches are controlled movements that warm up your body gently. These do not involve jerky motions but rather smooth swinging moves using momentum to increase range of motion. Picture a swimmer behind the blocks, getting ready for a race. She circles her arms around in different directions then pulls one knee at a time to her body. Or think of a runner lunging from side to side and then swinging his legs forward and back. These are all great dynamic stretching examples. There are lots of other routines to more effectively get your entire body ready for physical activity.
Most people stretch to warm up or to ready their muscles. But while static stretching may loosen your muscles to an extent, they aren’t actually warmed and ready to go. A more dynamic stretch can target specific areas of the body, depending on the muscles that are used. By getting your body ready for the task ahead, your range of motion will be improved, which in turn gives you a better quality workout. The muscles as well as joints are warmed and prepared, reducing risk of injury and increasing overall flexibility.
Ask your doctor of chiropractic about dynamic stretching. It’s one of the best things you can do to prepare your body for exercise. Your spine will thank you, too!