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STRETCHES YOU CAN DO YOURSELF AND THE EFFECTS WITH THEIR FREQUENCY

Static stretching

Static stretching is the most commonly performed stretch. It is when you stretch the muscle and hold it in tension for a period of time.

DOSAGE: for the general population, 10-30 seconds is sufficient. For older population 30-60s is needed. They should be repeated 2-4 times, after which there is no added benefit. They can be done daily or a minimum of 2-3 days a week.

  • Benefits include increasing the range that the joint can go through by increasing your stretch tolerance (detailed in Part 1). The greatest change occurs with 15-30seconds of stretching after 2-4 repetitions. Doing it more than this has no additional benefits
  • Research has found doing static stretching immediately before exercise reduces muscle strength and performance when running and jumping. You can minimise this by maximally tensing your muscle immediately before doing a static stretch.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) stretching  

The most common type of PNF stretching is the Contract-Relax technique.

TECHNIQUE:

1.While in its stretched position, contract/activate the muscle in a light-moderate strength for 3-6s

2.Relax

3.Stretch the muscle while it is relaxed for 10-30s

DOSAGE: 2-4 times a day, minimum 2-3 days a week

The benefits and disadvantages are the same as static stretching.

TIP: stretching has maximal effects after doing a warm-up through light-moderate aerobic activity (eg. Light jogging)

EXTRA FACTS:

1. stretching helps to align injured muscle fibres while it is healing

2. stretching has not be shown to be effective to prevent muscle injuries

References:

1: Page, P., 2012. Current concepts in muscle stretching for exercise and rehabilitation. International journal of sports physical therapy, 7(1), p.109.

2: Ferguson, B., 2014. ACSM’s guidelines for exercise testing and prescription 9th Ed. 2014. The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, 58(3), p.328.

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