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Dynamic stretching: A guide to getting mobile and staying flexible

Stretching isn’t just for athletes. A few years ago working as a chef, I found myself regularly complaining of a bad back, from hours spent on my feet. An older person that I worked with said that since he began stretching every morning that he felt a real change in his muscles and posture. Desperate for any form of relief, I began to look into dynamic stretching routines. Whether you’re getting ready for physical exercise, or just preparing your body for the day ahead, dynamic stretching is a great way to warm up without putting unnecessary pressure on yourself.

What are dynamic stretches?

 Dynamic stretches are a series of movements that will help warm up your muscles and joints, and nervous system. Unlike static stretches, dynamic stretching is a series of fluid and controlled movements that seek to replicate the same movements that you make regularly in your day to day. 

Dynamic stretches can target specific areas of the body and groups of muscles, so you can stimulate movement and blood flow. The best thing about dynamic stretching is that you can tailor them to your own physical abilities and limitations. Accessible and beneficial for people of all ages and fitness levels, dynamic stretching is a great way to ensure that you go into your day or workout routine ready to go.

Being flexible

One of the most obvious benefits of dynamic stretching is that over time your dynamic range will increase and you will become more flexible. By slowly stimulating different muscle groups on a regular basis, you encourage your limbs and joints to move further and extend their capabilities. Over time this increased flexibility doesn’t just make your movements easier, but is a great way to prevent potential damage caused by overstretching. 

Take for example Shoulder Stretches. Shoulder stretches are a series of dynamic stretches that target the shoulders, biceps and triceps promoting a wider dynamic range for your upper body. This kind of stretching is particularly useful for those whose job may involve heavy lifting or those on their feet for extended periods of the day. By focusing on the bits of your body that need it the most, dynamic stretching can help prevent muscle strain and promote good posture that in turn benefits your blood flow and internal organs.

Let your blood, flow

Dynamic stretching is great to get your heart pumping and blood flowing around your body. This improved blood flow helps your circulatory system to deliver nutrients where you need them the most and gets oxygen to your muscle groups. When your blood is flowing efficiently and healthily, it can reduce inflammation and promote muscle healing after a long workout or strenuous day.

During dynamic stretching your muscles will relax and contract in a rhythmic nature, enhancing your blood flow and boosting circulation. But good blood flow from dynamic stretches isn\’t just good for your body. This influx of oxygenated blood will fuel your muscles and heart, making sure they are operating at their best. This can also trigger a rush of endorphins, leaving you energised and ready to tackle the day ahead.

Mental Wellness and stress reduction

As I’ve mentioned, dynamic stretching isn’t just beneficial for your body. The rhythmic and controlled motions involved in dynamic stretching are great for calming a foggy brain and promoting mental clarity. When we are stressed our bodies tend to tighten up, putting strain on our muscles and mind. Dynamic stretches, helps to release tension from your muscles, leaving you free to unwind and relax. This simple act of deliberate and repeated motion, can provide a moment of calm away from the stresses of the day and promote long term mental wellbeing.

A simple dynamic stretching routine

Dynamic stretching covers a wide range of exercises and activities. Here are some simple and accessible dynamic stretches that you can try from the comfort of your own home.

Leg Swings – Stand near a wall or hold onto a stable surface for support. Swing one leg forward and backward like a pendulum. Repeat this motion for 10 to 15 swings on each leg. This exercise helps loosen up your hamstrings, quadriceps, and hip flexors.

Arm Circles – Extend your arms out to the sides and make small circles with your hands. Gradually increase the size of the circles for about 10 seconds and then reverse the direction. Arm circles warm up your shoulder joints and improve upper body mobility.

Hip rotations – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hands on your hips. Circle your hips clockwise and then counterclockwise for about 10 seconds each. Hip circles increase the flexibility and range of motion in your hip joints.

High Knees – Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and march on the spot, bringing your knees as high as possible. Do this for 30 seconds to a minute. High knees get your heart rate up and activate your leg muscles.

Shoulder Stretch – Raise one arm to shoulder height, and reach it across your chest. Pull the arm slightly toward you with your other arm. This will help you get a gentle stretch. Hold for about 6 seconds.

Walking Lunges – Step forward with one leg, lowering your body until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Push off with the front leg and bring the back foot forward, repeating the motion with the other leg. Perform 10 lunges on each side. This exercise warms up your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.

Trunk Twists – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms extended to the sides. Rotate your torso to the right and then to the left, alternating sides for 20 seconds. Torso twists loosen up your back and core muscles.

Cat/ Cow Stretch – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms extended to the sides. Rotate your torso to the right and then to the left, alternating sides for 20 seconds. Torso twists loosen up your back and core muscles.


If there was one thing I think that’s really important to take from dynamic stretching: it’s that every movement no matter how small, impacts your body. This is why it’s so important to work smarter rather than harder when it comes to exercise and physical activity. So whether you’re preparing for a workout, or just want to get your body limber for the day ahead, get started with some dynamic stretches. You’ll be surprised what you can achieve after just a few days of repetition. 

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