Anyone who has been following this blog for a while will know that I have a reoccurring back problem. Doctors have said it is ‘non-specific’ back pain which is not very helpful.
I have been looking for years for solutions to the problem and although I still have problems, I have managed to reduce the occurrences and the severity of the pain. Something I have just discovered to add to my existing arsenal of back pain busting lifestyle changes is ‘dynamic stretching’. Now I must say that I am no expert in this field, this blog is based entirely on my own experiences.
My take on dynamic stretching is that it is warming your muscles up before exercise by putting them through a similar range of movements that the exercise will use. For example, going for a run uses your leg muscles, so starting at the feet, I jump up and down on the spot using my ankles and feet. This increases the blood flow to my feet and primes the muscles ready for running.
This is very different from static stretching which I have been doing daily for years. As you can probably guess from the name, static stretching involves stretching a muscle and holding that stretch for a period of time, gradually deepening the stretch as the muscles relaxes. I still do a static stretching routine every morning for 15 mins which is a mixture of Pilates, Yoga and the McKenzie Method.
So after donning my running kit, I go through a series of dynamic stretching for 5 mins. I warm up my feet, quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, calves and glutes. I do not static stretch before a run as this is said to tire out the muscles rather than prime them. On mornings where I get up and run, I do not go through my static stretches.
After every run though I always run through my full static stretch routine as it helps with muscle soreness and therefore enables me to run again the next day. I’ve been suffering from a bad hip when running for the last few months and I’m convinced that dynamic stretching along with a new running style have sorted it out – no pain at all now.
Here are some links that you might find useful;
- My static stretch routines
- A dynamic stretch routine from Wikipedia that I’m using now
- A lovely sciatica busting stretch
- The McKenzie Method