BENFITS OF DYNAMIC STRETCHING 7
Running head: BENFITS OF DYNAMIC STRETCHING 1
19 November 2021
Benefits of dynamic stretching
Exercising is very important for the human body as it helps to regulate weight and lower the risk of some diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. One of the most important exercises that one should engage in is dynamic stretching and a lot of studies have been done about its benefits. According to Louw (2018), dynamic stretching refers to when one does repetitive movements that actively streatch or move a muscle to the furthest it can and immediately moving it back out of the position. Dynamic stretches can be done when one is standing or moving such as jogging. While dynamic stretches could seem similar, they should not be confused with other exercises of their kind, these are static stretches and ballistic stretches. Unlike the dynamic stretches which do not involve holding of any length of time, static stretches are held for a period of time while ballistic stretches involve rapid bouncing. Various research claims commonly agree that dynamic stretches are very important in helping the body to attain its full movement potential during daily activities, exercising, and sporting. They help in reducing the risk of injury among other significant benefits. Being a type of exercise with a lot of body advantages that many people do not recognize, I was drawn to an interest in researching about it, and below are specific questions to help me attain the objective of this research.
i. What is the range of exercises for dynamic stretching?
ii. How does dynamic stretching generally improve performance?
iii. What is the significance of dynamic stretching in reducing muscle injury and increasing physical health?
iv. What is the relationship between dynamic stretching and mental health?
There are various dynamic stretches for different activities. For example, while dynamic stretches for warming up include hip circles, arm circles, and lunge with a twist, dynamic stretches for running include leg arm circles, leg pendulum, and jog to quad stretch. On the other hand, the ones for the upper body may include arm swings and spinal rotations. It thus means that every stretch is important from the others and there exists strong evidence that dynamic stretches can generally increase explosive performance by waking the muscles and the nervous system and preparing for forceful movements. According to Samson et al. (2012) research about its benefits within the general and activity-specific warm-up protocols, it is evident that studies, which have focused on dynamic stretching argue that it facilitates power (Manoel et al., 2008), sprint (Fletcher and Anness, 2007), and jump performance (Holt and Lambourne, 2008) without any adverse effect. This research, through evidence, would concur with the above by asserting that dynamic stretch improves general performance as it increases body flexibility.
In research by Samson et al. (2012) that was centered on the benefits of dynamic stretching on muscles, it was found that “dynamic stretching has sustained impacts on range of motion and passive stiffness of the Hamstring Muscles.” Hamstring strain injuries commonly occur during sporting activities that involve forceful fast movements and fast running, and lack of flexibility is said to be a primary cause. It is believed to cause other Hamstring problems such as muscle imbalances that result in injuries, patellofemoral pain, and lower back pains (Sadler et al., 2017). Therefore, to increase joint flexibility and avoid injury, it is recommended to do frequent stretches before engaging in exercise. Iwata et al., (2019) research findings ostensibly are a significant contributor to the achievement of this research objective, that is, the benefits of dynamic stretching, and more specifically in answering the research question as to the significance of dynamic stretching in reducing muscle injury. An individual that does not do dynamic stretching to flex his muscles is very susceptible to muscle injury. There are some reported arguments regarding dynamic stretching and its relationship with muscle injury whereby, while some argue for its importance in improving joint range of motion (Chen et al., 2018; Mizuno 2017), others conflict about its impacts on muscle-tendon unit stiffness (Hersa et al., 2013). Further suggestions are that improvements in the range of motion evident after a dynamic stretch result from stretch tolerance rather than minimized muscle stiffness. This shows that there have been insufficient studies to arrive at a common agreement regarding dynamic stretching on helping to reduce muscle injury, nonetheless, I would argue that any activity that wakes the muscles and nervous system is likely to help in minimizing muscle injuries.
Apart from the physical benefits of dynamic stretch, this research is aimed at determining its effects on mental health. I suggest that by dynamic stretching improving muscle flexibility and flow of blood, it will likely be a good stress reliever. This is because, during stress, muscles could probably be tightened up in reaction to physical and emotional stress thus participating in regular stretching will improve flexibility and calm of the mind, especially when done with a focus on meditation exercises which help in a mental break.
Some argue that there are different ways to prepare your body for exercise and warm up. Another warm up that is argued to be more effective than dynamic stretching is running. Running before performing can be a game changer. Getting a run in can increase the body’s adrenaline and heart beat. This can prepare the performer’s body, and give it a taste of what it will be going through when the time comes. Running is also a way of meditation and clearing your mind from all thoughts. Going into a game or a match with a mind that is full of thoughts will not allow you to give 100%.
Dynamic stretching has always received recognition for its importance in many sports that necessitate high levels of explosive speed and power. Notably, rather than being a warm up for any kind of sport, it is part of the warm up which prepare one for the main physical activity. Dynamic stretching is a great contributor to warming of muscles to their “working temperature,” improving their general functions due to their optimal capacity for exercise.
While dynamic stretching has various arguments in favor of its beneficial impacts to the body during exercise, it has also been categorized as dangerous whereby it is said to be easy to over-do it, probably by pushing the stretches too hard or too fast (Walker). Stretching muscles that aren’t warmed up makes them vulnerable to injury. It may aggravate initial injuries, especially muscular problems or issues concerning joints due to extra pressures exerted. As a result, there is need for gradual processes in stretching to minimize injury and as well a need to watch the maximum point of pushing the stretches to avoid over-doing. The other claim on dynamic stretching disadvantages is that it is unsuitable for some exercises or activities such as yoga. The reason behind it is that such exercises necessitate a lot of flexibility other than consistent speedy movements of dynamic stretches. Other workouts such as tai chi wouldn’t be appropriate for dynamic stretching since they are centered on fluid and gentle exercising movements (Origim).
While there may be excellent benefits of dynamic stretching, there are inherent risks associated with it. However, most of them are only related to the danger of not doing correctly thus the possibility of injury. Allsobrook argues that the best way of controlling injury from incorrect dynamic stretches is starting off slowly and gently with at least 2 to 3 sessions before trying any move that is more energetic or that necessitates a lot of flexibility. Dynamic stretching when one has an injury is not recommendable until the doctor recommends that its safe to do so. While there seemingly may be very minimal to zero risks of dynamic stretching, it is important for one to start slow, regulate the extent of involving oneself in it and ensuring 100% ready before moving to its rigorous side of stretch.
Regardless of dynamic stretching potentially having some disadvantages, I argue that its advantages are far more superficial and this is proved later in the research. The numerous types of dynamic stretching provide diverse benefits for anyone intending to engage in speedy and rigorous work outs. One of its type, ballistic stretching that utilizes momentum generated by rapid swinging, bouncing and rebounding to enable body movements beyond their normal range increases flexibility and fitness during workouts. With dynamic stretching entailing controlled, soft bounce or swinging motion to move certain body parts only to their range limit, it becomes more beneficial as compared to ballistic stretching. The other type is resistance stretching and loaded stretching. These two work to expand and contract the muscles at the same time improving their warmth before workout. Lastly is the active isolated stretching which works by contracting the opposite muscle group, causing a relaxation to the stretched muscle group (Walker).
This research is intended to determine the benefits of dynamic stretching. This is a very interesting topic since most people live up to exercise and perform various activities daily without knowledge about the importance of dynamic stretching on their mental and physical wellness to improve performance. Any audience of this research should find an important connection between dynamic stretching and full functionality of the body, that is, body awareness improvement, flexibility improvement, and muscle performance improvement and their general contribution towards mental health. However, for the best beneficial results of dynamic stretching, there would be need to consider various aspects such as initial injuries, progression of the stretches, that is, slow to fast, and the extent to which one should stretch to avoid overdoing and subjection to injury, among others.
Allsobrook, Chris. “9 Benefits of Dynamic Stretching.” Fitness Courses & Qualifications | OriGym, 3 Mar. 2021, origympersonaltrainercourses.co.uk/blog/dynamic-stretching-benefits.
Chen C.H., Xin Y., Lee K.W., Lin M.J., Lin J.J. (2018a) acute effects of different dynamic exercises on hamstring strain risk factors. PLoS One 13, e0191801.
Holt B.W., Lambourne K. (2008) The impact of different warm-up protocols on vertical jump performance in male collegiate athletes. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 22, 226-229.
Iwata, M., Yamamoto, A., Matsuo, S., Hatano, G., & Miyazaki, M. (2019, February 11). Dynamic stretching has sustained effects on range of motion and passive stiffness of the hamstring muscles. PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6370952/
Louw, M. (2018, July 17). Dynamic stretching and its benefits. Sports Injury Physio. https://www.sports-injury-physio.com/post/dynamic-stretching-benefits
Manoel M.E., Harris-Love M.O., Danoff J.V., Miller T.A.(2008) Acute effects of static, dynamic, and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching on muscle power in women. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 22, 1528-1534.
Mizuno T. (2017) Changes in joint range of motion and muscle-tendon unit stiffness after varying amounts of dynamic stretching. Journal of Sports Sciences 35, 2157-2163.
Sadler S.G., Spink M.J., Ho A., De Jonge X.J., Chuter V.H. (2017) Restriction in lateral bending range of motion, lumbar lordosis, and hamstring flexibility predicts the development of low back pain: a systematic review of prospective cohort studies. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 18, 179.
Samson, M., Button, D., Chaouachi, A., & Behm, D. G. (2012, June 1). Effects of dynamic and static stretching within general and activity specific warm-up protocols. PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3737866/
Walker, Brad. “What is Dynamic Stretching? The Pro’s, Con’s and Definitions.” StretchCoach.com | Stretching and Flexibility, 5 Apr. 2021, stretchcoach.com/articles/dynamic-stretching/.
BENFITS OF DYNAMIC STRETCHING 7