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Stretching and Fighting Fatigue 11/07/2008 - 11:58 AM

Stretching took top honors on the New York Times most e-mailed list earlier this week, and I may single-handedly be responsible. That’s not because I sent it to everyone I know; it seems like everyone I know sent the article, “Stretching: The Truth,” to me. I guess I know what I should write about. Thanks for the input, everyone!

According to the article, the USTA’s advice, which TENNIS follows in its articles, to do a dynamic warm-up before a workout and static stretching afterward, is the right advice. It is now believed that static stretching can decrease muscle strength (by as much as 30 percent according to one study), so it should only be done post-workout. Before a workout, you should do a dynamic warm-up to loosen up your muscles and tendons and increase range of motion. Check out the article for some new dynamic moves and a video with Mark Kovacs, Ph.D., the USTA manager of Sport Science. In August I blogged about another Times article about two new studies on stretching. Maybe those will bring us an even better understanding.

Fatigue_3Another breakthrough I wanted to touch on is in the study of fatigue. With the days getting shorter and the stressful election season leading directly into the holiday season, feeling tired and sluggish may start to become a regular state for many of us. But for anyone who knows how energizing time on a tennis court can be, you know there’s often an answer in exercise. Physiologists have started to connect the dots between the biological processes of fatigue and exercise, and in September they convened to agree on a new understanding of the condition. Read about it here at the home of Bud Collins, the Boston Globe.

The new view links fatigue with sluggish mitochondria within cells, which make energy, and too many pro-inflammatory cytokines, which battle infection. The exciting part about this is that both mitochondrial and cytokine problems have been shown to improve with exercise (they actually get worse with too much rest). The takeaway? If you’re feeling tired, try working in some extra court time this fall.


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Posted by Shannon 11/11/2008 at 04:22 PM


Posted by david 11/11/2008 at 05:17 PM

second! i would love to work in more court time this fall but it gets too cold...but yeah more court time is always a plus! =D

Posted by angelina 11/11/2008 at 05:58 PM


Posted by cherryoo 11/12/2008 at 07:12 AM

That is weird, because I tried both, and the dynamic stretches, I felt sluggish, and the static ones keep you from getting hurt more then the dynamic ones.

Posted by Kevin 11/12/2008 at 12:15 PM

Not true, cherryoo. The static ones can hurt you if you do them cold. Warming up with dynamic stuff is key, especially this time of year.

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Posted by cheryoo 11/13/2008 at 11:33 AM

the best thing to do is 200 skips, then static stretches, than another 100 skips.

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