It seems like opinions on stretching are always changing. Before getting into how to incorporate stretching into your workout routine, I want to talk about the three different types of stretching. Static stretching is probably what comes to mind when you think of traditional stretching – you stretch and hold it, like the sit-and-reach. Ballistic stretching is static stretching plus a bouncing motion at your maximal stretch designed to push yourself just that little bit further. For the last type of stretch – dynamic stretching – think of stretching while moving, like yoga.
It is important to warm up before a workout. However, static stretching before workouts has been associated with decreased power and lower endurance performance. It can actually cause muscles to tighten, rather than relax. Ballistic stretching is has the same effect, and if done improperly, can cause muscle damage.
Try dynamic stretching to get ready for your run. Examples of dynamic stretching are walking deep knee lunges, heel-toe walks, jogging backwards, or the high knee pull.
One of the best studies on injury prevention looked at differences in injuries between runners who were assigned to stretch before a workout, after a workout, or neither. There was no difference in injury rates in any of the groups. There was an increase in injuries when runners crossed between groups – for example, started stretching at a time they weren’t used to or stopped stretching.
If you choose not to stretch as par of your workout, you should still incorporate static or dynamic stretching into your daily routine. Stretch when you wake up, before bed or take a few breaks while sitting at your desk at work.
- Static stretching before workouts may decrease running performance.
- Don’t “bounce” at the end of your stretches.
- Dynamic stretching is the best way to maintain flexibility and to get ready for your workout.
- Doing yoga regularly is a great way to practice dynamic stretching.
- The biggest reason for injuries is a change in your routine – make any changes gradually.
- Make short stretching breaks a part of your daily routine.
Running Recipe- Homemade Granola Bars
For this homemade running recipe, I’d like to share how I make homemade granola bars. Why buy granola bars when making them at home is inexpensive and easy? You can pick and choose your favorite ingredients to add to this healthy recipe.
You will need:
2½ c. oatmeal
1 c. dried apricots, diced, or other dried fruit
1 banana, mashed
1c. pepitas, or other nuts
¼. c. soy or almond milk
1/2 c. honey or maple syrup
1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl, then add the milk and honey
2. Using a spoon, press the mix into a 9×13” baking dish filling
3. Bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes – longer for a crispier texture. Let cool to room temp and then cut into bars or crumbled for use as cereal. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.
Nutrition info per bar (makes 10): 250 cal | 3 g fat | 56 carbs | 4.5 g protein
Kelly (Egan) Huibregtse is a guest blogger for Brooks, as well as a member of our Inspire Daily program. Look for more posts from her on running myths in the coming months. Kelly is pediatric resident in San Francisco, CA. So far this year, she has volunteered in India, graduated from medical school, gotten married, and moved across the country to start her first job – in that order. To follow her adventures, please visit runningblonde.com.