herald

Monday 26 September 2016

Week 10: Why dynamic and static stretching can keep you injury free

Foam rolling is a great way to self-massage
Foam rolling is a great way to self-massage

To avoid injury you must listen to your body. If you feel a 'niggle' or an old injury creeping in, ensure you stop, rest and if needed get seen by a therapist.

No one wants to rest, especially when they are getting fitter and enjoying their training, but that can be just what your body needs to prevent that annoying and often long lasting injury.

Don't be a stubborn fool, listen to your body rather than making your body listen to you.

Warming up before exercise is gearing up, getting ready and preparing the body for what lies ahead. It gives the body time to increase heart rate, breathing, blood flow and other bodily functions needed during exercise.

Your body now knows what to expect and is not ambushed by a higher intensity. Simple activities can be performed such as skipping with a rope, leg swings, jumping jacks, knees up or heels up.

Cooling down is the opposite of warming up. It is bringing the body back down to a resting, stable state. Reducing all bodily functions gradually and beginning the recovery process.

The movements used here should be at a much lower intensity and you should feel temperature, heart rate and breathing reduce steadily. Never just come to an abrupt stop.

Strain

Allowing muscles to shorten can cause injuries. However, five minutes at the start of a training session using dynamic stretches and five minutes at the end of a session using static stretches is all it takes to stop this.

The aim is to increase range of motion thus reducing strain on the muscles, tendons and joints. A justified and worthwhile 10 minute investment.

Self-massage is another way to increase flexibility and this can be achieved through foam rolling. Think of it as servicing your body.

Following a tough training session or race, your body craves time to repair, regenerate and recover in full.

The body is a self-regulating machine but it requires time and a little assistance. When asleep, the body finds time to fix muscle fibre tears, flush out unwanted toxins and regenerate cells.

This time is invaluable and cannot be replaced so ensure to allow enough time each night to sleep. Eight hours should be a minimum when training.

We all want to give 100pc to our activity but essentially it is how well we can recover that determines our success. Fail to prepare, prepare to get injured.

Life can get busy but it is important to prioritise your health and well being.

Take time out to do the important things like making nutritious meals, sleeping and relaxing.

Bottom line is train hard, recover harder and always remember your health is your wealth!

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