The colder mornings have arrived.
Getting out of our nice, warm and comfy beds can be extra difficult in the chillier months. The cold can create stiffness in your joints and muscles leaving you feeling tired even before the day has started.
To help get your body warmed up in the morning we have selected 5 simple stretches to do when you jump (or crawl) out of bed.
1. The Rolldown
Lean against a wall with knees slightly bent. Drop chin into your chest let your head roll forward and your arms hang. Breathe in as you hang. Breathe out and slowly roll back up.
Repeat 5 times
2. Thread the Needle
Take one hand and cross it under the body and reach up the side of the body. Take the same arm back under the body and extend the elbow and shoulder.
Repeat with other arm.
3. Rest Position
Sit back onto your haunches keeping your bottom on your feet slowly breathe out and try to stretch the fingers further forward. Hold for 20 seconds.
The hips should be square at a 90°. Start with a neutral flat back, let the back dip down, slowly work back to neutral and then hyperarch to the ceiling.
Repeat 5 – 10 times
5. Hamstring Stretch
Sitting upright with legs wide and knees straight. Reach across with one arm towards the opposite foot. Hold for 15-20 seconds. Repeat with opposite arm and foot.
Click on the image below to print out the exercises!
In the previous blog post the term dynamic was used to describe the type of stretches that should be done when warming up.
But isn’t stretching just, stretching?
Well, there is a little more to stretching then just bending down and touching your toes. There are actually seven different types of stretching, with the two main forms being static and dynamic. Knowing about these two forms of stretching is important in ensuring that you are stretching in a way that is beneficial to performance and reducing the risk of injuries.
Dynamic stretches involve moving parts of your body and gradually increasing the reach, speed of movement or both. The movement should not be bouncy or jerky and should not force the body beyond its range of motion.
Dynamic stretches should be performed prior to or part of a warm up as they:
- Increase the body’s core temperature
- Increase muscle temperature
- Elongate muscles
- Stimulate the nervous system
- Decrease chance of injury due to increased range of movement and muscle length
Static stretches involve reaching a point of tension and then holding. For example, reaching for your toes to stretch your hamstring and holding the stretch. This form of stretching does, however, decrease eccentric strength for one hour after, decreases force by 5% and decreases the rate of peak production by 8%. Therefore, static stretches are best performed after activity and can be done with cool down activities.
Choosing the right form of stretching for specific exercises can greater reduce the risk of injury occurring from exercises.
Sometimes it can be hard to find the time to exercise and this can lead to people opting to skip the warm up and cool down activities. However, it is highly likely that these people wake up the next morning with tired, achy and stiff muscles.
By ensuring you warm up and cool down you reduce the risk of muscle injuries and help prevent muscle soreness the next day.
Warm up facts:
- Act of increasing body temperature, improving mobility and enhancing mental readiness through performing sports specific activities
- The most effective warm up consists of both general and specific exercises
- General exercises include jogging, general stretching and resistance exercise
- Increase speed of contraction and relaxation of warmed muscles
- Dynamic exercises reduce muscle stiffness
- Warm muscles means that we can utilise blood oxygen more efficiently
- Facilitates nerve transmission and muscle metabolism
- Increase blood flow
Cool Down facts:
- Cool down involves a short period at the end of an exercise session during which the physical activity of the body is gradually reduces to almost its resting level.
- Often involves a period of low-impact aerobic exercise which is gradually reduced, followed by a few stretching exercises
- Gradually reduces the heart rate while still assisting venous return
- Helps to get rid of waste product including Lactic acid
- Reduces the potential for Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
- Reduces chance of dizziness or fainting caused by the pooling of venous blood at the extremities
- Reduces levels of adrenaline in the blood
- Allows the heart rate to return to its resting rate (within 30 beats of what it was before exercise session started)
So next time you think it will save you time to skip the warm up and cool down exercises, just think about how much slower you will be the next day due to sore, stiff and tired muscles.