By Dr Andrew Ullo (Chiropractor)

 

Stretching is a common exercise that is often used to improve flexibility and range of motion, and to prevent injury. However, the type of stretching that is performed, as well as the duration and frequency of stretching, can impact the effects of stretching on the body.

 

Static stretching involves holding a muscle in a lengthened position for a set amount of time, typically 20-30 seconds. This type of stretching is often performed as a warm-up or cool-down exercise, and is best for improving flexibility. However, research has shown that performing static stretching prior to exercise can temporarily reduce strength and power, which may increase the risk of injury (Behm et al., 2016).

 

Dynamic stretching, on the other hand, involves moving a muscle through a full range of motion with momentum. This type of stretching is often performed as part of a warm-up, and is best for preparing the body for physical activity. Unlike static stretching, dynamic stretching has been shown to have a positive impact on performance and to reduce the risk of injury (Chaouachi et al., 2011).

 

In terms of the chronic effects of stretching, both static and dynamic stretching can improve flexibility and range of motion over time. However, the specific effects of stretching may depend on the individual and their goals. For example, individuals who are focused on improving flexibility may benefit more from static stretching, while individuals who are focused on improving athletic performance may benefit more from dynamic stretching.

 

In terms of preventing injury, research has shown that a proper warm-up that includes dynamic stretching can reduce the risk of injury. However, it is important to note that stretching alone may not be enough to prevent injury, and that a comprehensive approach to injury prevention that includes strength training, conditioning, and proper technique is also important.

 

In conclusion, both static and dynamic stretching can have positive effects on flexibility and range of motion, but the type of stretching that is performed, as well as the duration and frequency of stretching, can impact the effects of stretching on the body. Dynamic stretching is best for preparing the body for physical activity, while static stretching is best for improving flexibility. A proper warm-up that includes dynamic stretching can reduce the risk of injury, but a comprehensive approach to injury prevention is also important.

 

References:

1. Behm, D. G., Anderson, K. G., Curd, M. P., & Tardif, N. G. (2016). Warm-up and flexibility exercise influence acute dynamic performance and injury risk in physically active adults. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 30(6), 1654-1666.

 

2. Chaouachi, A., Chtara, M., Levin, G. T., Hambli, M., Kaabi, S., Chamari, K., … & Behm, D. G. (2011). The effects of warm-up before acute dynamic exercise on endurance performance and running economy in highly trained runners. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 25(9), 2485-2492.