Static Vs. Dynamic Stretching- How to Prevent Injury

As the weather begins to improve, people begin participating in more outdoor recreational activities. However, this change in activity level can come with an increased risk of injury. This article will briefly describe ways to decrease risk of injury through various stretching techniques.

Prior to any activity, it is good to perform an active warm up involving light cardio activities (i.e. walking, jogging) paired with a dynamic stretching routine. This helps increase range of motion and blood flow to the muscles being used to help decrease the risk of injury. Dynamic stretching is described as a continuous movement that maximizes someone’s active range of motion. Examples of this include hip in/out, forward kicks, butt kicks, and lunge with a twist.  Please see pictures below.

 

 

 

 

After activity, it is important to stretch as the muscles are recovering from activity in order to decrease soreness and increase muscular extensibility. Static stretching is typically performed after a workout and is defined as a stretch that is held for a period of ~30 seconds. It is recommended that each stretch be performed 3-4 times to maximize benefits of stretching and decrease future risk of injury. Good examples of static stretching that is useful post-workout include a hamstring stretch, quad stretch, calf stretch, or trunk twist.  Please see pictures below

 

 

 

 

Written by: Holly Hibbard, D.P.T. from Harbor Physical Therapy

 

How to Decrease the Likelihood of a Running Injury

Most running injuries are caused by overuse, overtraining, wearing the wrong shoes, and overcompensating for a muscle imbalance or biomechanical problem. Here are some ways you can prevent the likelihood of a running injury.

1. Gradually increase your mileage. Increasing your weekly mileage by no more than 10% will help prevent injury.
2. Wear supportive shoes that are not worn out. It is suggested you replace your running shoes every 300-500 miles or every 6 months. Also, make sure your shoes address any biomechanical issues you may have with your feet and arches. Most running stores provide an analysis of your feet.
3. The best surfaces to run on that provide the least amount of impact is grass and woodland trails. Avoid running on concrete which is the hardest surface you could run on. Asphalt is a little better than concrete. If you run on grass, look for a flat area of grass. While running on a trail, watch out for slippery, muddy areas.
4. Stretch after you run to prevent your muscles from being too tight.
5. Cross train instead of just running. This way you will be strengthening various muscle groups and one particular muscle group will be less likely to be strained.

If you are unsure how to progress running safely to meet your goals, need help creating a stretching program, and or cross training programming, contact Harbor Physical Therapy for an appointment. We also offering running assessments to uncover your specific running stride and provide you specific tailored exercises to help diminish any muscle imbalances.

Swimming

If you are planning on swimming for exercise, you should warm up before you begin your workout. 

 A warm up:

            – Increases blood flow to the muscles in your body.

            – Increases your heart rate to prepare your body for exercise.

            – Decreases stiffness in your joints.

            – Increases range of motion of your shoulders and legs.

 Warm up ideas prior to swimming:

            – Jumping rope

            – Squats

            – Arm Swings

            – Lunges

After your swimming workout, you should perform stretching exercises to prevent muscles soreness.

 Important muscles to stretch for swimmers:

            – Hamstring

            – Pectoralis                                                           

            – Rhomboid

Rhomboid Stretch