Put a Stop to Static Stretching after Weight Loss Surgery

Put a Stop to Static Stretching after Weight Loss SurgeryEven if exercise is relatively new to you after weight loss surgery, you may still bring a few old habits to your routine. Most of us were taught a technique called static stretching in P.E. class, and while this warm-up style continues to be widely used, it isn’t as necessary as your gym teacher may have told you. In fact, static stretching can end up hurting us more than it helps.

What is Static Stretching?

For years, common warm-up knowledge told us that holding stretches would loosen muscles and get us ready for the workout ahead. We would reach towards our toes for minutes at a time, hoping to awaken our muscles before facing the challenges of something more intense. Any time you hold a stretch in place for 30 seconds or more, that’s a static stretch, and it’s something that many of us have been doing for years.

Unfortunately, studies now show us that static stretching has the opposite of the desired effect. By stretching while the body is at rest—before the muscles have a chance to warm up—we can actually make our muscles less prepared for the powerful movements required by our workouts.

Dynamic warm-ups are now considered far more effective. These activities will start to activate the muscles you’re about to use in your workout, helping you work your way up to a more intense activity. Dynamic warm-ups can include things like:

  • Bodyweight movements. Activities like these are great for preparing your body for strength training. Squats, walking lunges and walking toe touches will use the weight of your own body to get your muscles primed before picking up the weights. After bodyweight exercises, warm up your muscles even more with foam rolling, which massages the muscles with a cylinder of dense foam.
  • Dynamic stretches. For cardiovascular activities, try doing the same stretches you’re used to, but in two to eight second intervals. Be sure not to bounce, as this can cause other problems. You can also jump into short, low-intensity bursts of the exercise you’re about to do, or warm-up with a similar aerobic activity on the elliptical, exercise bike or treadmill.

There is no one perfect warm-up after weight loss surgery, but if you’re still getting ready for exercise by trying to touch your toes, you may want to start preparing in a more dynamic way. If you need more help developing the ideal warm-up, try scheduling a session with a trainer.