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BEAT THE DESK SLUMP WITH DYNAMIC STRETCHING: FEEL FULLY STRETCHED OUT

Updated: May 7


While static stretching has long been a pre-workout staple, research suggests dynamic movements are a safer and more effective way to warm up before a run or exercise. This article explores the coveted feeling of being fully stretched out and compares dynamic vs static stretches that target your chest, legs, and back.


We'll also explore how to perform it, potential risks or limitations, alternative options for individuals with mobility issues, and the benefits of deep tissue massage in keeping your joints mobile and flexible.


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WHAT IS DYNAMIC STRETCHING?


In today's fast-paced world, we sit for extended periods, glued to our desks or hunched over digital devices. So, it's no surprise that we often experience aches, pains, and stiffness in our muscles and joints. Enter dynamic stretching, your weapon against the dreaded desk slump and make you feel all stretched out!


Dynamic stretches are controlled movements which help to warm up your joints safely.  They mimic the actions you'll perform during your workout or daily activities. So they can beneficial whether you are about to work-out, you have been sitting all day, or you preparing a 12 weeks marathon training plan.


They involve moving parts of your body and gradually increasing reach, speed of movement, or both. The controlled movements increase blood flow, improve flexibility progressively, thus preparing muscles and joints for physical activity.


On the contrary, Static stretches (holding a position) don't involve active movement. So it’s best to performed these only after a workout. Because if you try to elongate a cold muscle, you may end up pulling it. 


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ALL STRETCHED OUT: WHY DYNAMIC STRETCHING SHOULD BE YOUR WARM-UP BFF


Some of the key benefits of dynamic stretching include:


Increased flexibility & Increased range of motion


The continuous movement progressively increases your range of motion, making physical activity smoother and more enjoyable. This translates to enhanced movement in major joints like your shoulders and hips, allowing them to flow freely and efficiently in all directions. The result? Optimal movement with less stress on your body, leaving you feeling all stretched out and ready to conquer anything.


Improve performance in physical activity and prevent injuries.


When you incorporate dynamic leg stretches in your warm-up routine, you increase your core body temperature. Warmed-up muscles are less prone to tears and strains. While cold muscles and tendons in the body are more likely to rupture, strain, or sprain.  By improving flexibility and coordination, it can boost athletic performance, agility, and overall physical readiness.


Increased blood flow to muscles.  


Controlled movements enhance the transportation of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout the body. They also reduce blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate, counteracting the body’s physiological responses to stress and muscular tension. 


Improved posture. 


Sitting for prolonged periods can contribute to poor posture, repetitive movement patterns, and improper body mechanics. It causes the muscles to become chronically tense, tight and contracted, less strong and supple. Chest dynamic stretches can address these muscle imbalances and promote a more aligned body position.



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Reduced pain and stiffness.


It can counteract the excessive muscular tension, which often causes chronic discomfort throughout the body, particularly for those who spend long hours sitting or in sedentary positions. It can decrease stiffness and sometimes also reduce the frequency and severity of muscle cramps.


Combat stress and calm your mind.  


Stress may cause undesirable responses in the body. “Ironing out” these physical tensions may help you to stress less and be positive. It can reduce mental tension, especially when combined with mindful breathing techniques.


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STRETCHING TO THE MAX: HOW TO FEEL ALL STRETCHED OUT WITH DYNAMIC MOVES


The beauty of dynamic stretches lies in their simplicity! 


  1. Choose your stretches: Focus on the major muscle groups you'll be using during your activity. For example, if you’re about to run, prioritise leg dynamic stretches, such as leg swings.  If you're looking to release upper back tension, choose chest dynamic stretches.

  2. Slow and controlled: Perform each movement with control and proper form. Try not to bounce!

  3. Repeat and progress: Aim for 8-12 repetitions per stretch, gradually increasing the range of motion as you feel comfortable.


Here are some video examples to give you some ideas! 


PRE-RUN DYNAMIC LEG STRETCHES:



LEG & CHEST DYNAMIC STRETCHES AFTER RUNNING:



CHEST AND BICEPS DYNAMIC STRETCHES:



WHAT ARE THE RISKS AND LIMITATIONS? 


Dynamic stretching is usually a safe way to warm up. But people with pre-existing conditions or injuries need to be more mindful when perfoming them.


Some considerations include:


  1. Risk of Overstretching: Excessive or improper dynamic stretching can lead to overstretching muscles or causing strains, mainly if performed with too much force or speed.

  2. Existing injuries: Individuals with acute injuries, joint instability, or chronic pain conditions should consult a healthcare professional before starting any new stretching routine.

  3. Importance of Proper Form: Maintaining proper form and technique during dynamic stretches is crucial to avoid injury and maximize effectiveness.

  4. Listen to your body: Stop any exercise that causes pain.


Consulting a Professional for Personalized Advice


For a personalized plan, consider consulting a certified athletic trainer, physical therapist, or fitness instructor. They can assess your mobility and create a dynamic stretching routine tailored to your needs.


Alternative Options for Individuals with Mobility Issues


For individuals with mobility issues or limited range of motion, alternative options such as chair-based chest dynamic stretches, gentle partner stretch therapy , or aquatic exercises can offer benefits similar to dynamic stretching while accommodating specific needs and limitations. Working with a qualified instructor or therapist can help tailor exercises to individual abilities and goals. You could also try to use a foam roller, as foam rolling is self-paced and requires minimal movement, putting less stress on joints.


Here are some ideas to try if you have mobility issues:

  • Active-assisted stretches: Use a wall, chair, or partner for gentle assistance in achieving a stretch.

  • Pendulum swings: Gently swing your leg or arm back and forth to loosen up the joints.



WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO TO KEEP YOUR JOINTS MOBILE AND FLEXIBLE?


Deep Tissue Massage: Your Flexibility Power Up


In addition to dynamic stretching, Deep tissue massage & Thai yoga massage can be a valuable add-on to promote joint mobility and flexibility. Deep tissue massage targets deeper layers of muscles and connective tissues, helping release tension, improve circulation, and enhance muscle flexibility.


While Thai Massage combines assisted stretches and targeted pressure to loosen muscles and improve joint mobility. This, along with increased blood flow, can help you move more freely and reach your fitness goals.


These treatments can significantly help you prevent injuries by releasing tension in stiff muscles and speeding up recovery. Even though, we always encourage our clients to try moving more daily as this is what will make a real difference to their mental and physical wellbeing.


deep-tissue-massage-therapy-london-back

Stretching and massage help to keep your body mobile and healthy, but they work in a slightly different way. While stretching mainly helps to lengthen and relieve tension in the muscles that become restricted from repetitive movements and poor posture, a deep-tissue massage can free your muscles on a deeper level. 


Here are some of the benefits of Sports Massage:


Relief of Muscle Tension: 


Deep tissue massage is more effective than stretching as a massage therapist can work in a

short period of time deeply rooted knots and tension in the deeper layer of the muscles while you lay down and relax. Therefore you can expect less stiffness in the joints and more mobility. 


Breakdown of Scar Tissue:


Deep tissue massage can break down scar tissue adhesion, especially around the knee, a common trouble spot for runners who sit after exercise. Improved flexibility helps you achieve optimal performance and prevent injury.


Enhanced Recovery:


Incorporating regular deep tissue massage into your wellness routine can aid in faster recovery from workouts or physical activities, reducing the risk of overuse injuries and promoting overall mobility.


Rejuvenate Body & Mind:


Deep tissue massage can also bring long-lasting corrective changes to the body while relaxing the mind, too. It’s a great choice for anxiety and stress as it activates the parasympathetic nervous system (which is our body's healing mode). It may also promote better mood and sleep as it stimulates the release of serotonin, which is a chemical messenger that's believed to act as a mood stabilizer. 





CONCLUSION


So, ditch the desk slump and embrace dynamic stretching! With a little movement and perhaps a deep tissue massage as a treat, you'll be feeling loose, limber, and ready to conquer your day!


As seen above, dynamic stretching is a valuable tool for combating the effects of prolonged sitting, improving flexibility, and preparing the body for physical activity. When performed correctly and with consideration of individual needs, dynamic stretching can offer a range of benefits for overall health and well-being. However, it's essential to approach dynamic stretching mindfully and seek professional guidance when needed.


Dynamic stretching will act as great day-to-day self-care, but consider complementary practices like deep tissue massage.




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