Why Do I Need To Stretch?
Once upon a time, you might have been flexible, but as we age, our bodies seem stiffer and don’t seem to move as easily. Flexibility is by far the most neglected side of my Fitness Triangle but you can regain a good deal of elasticity with a little patience and dedicated stretch time.
If you’re not already doing a regular flexibility routine at least once a week, try one of my Yoga DVDs. Yoga and other forms of flexibility training will increase the range of motion around your joints, prevent injury and soreness, decrease recovery time, and even improve posture. Many people also often experience decreased lower back and neck pain, as well as better sleep and decreased stress levels just with regular stretching routines.
No bending these rules when it comes to flexibility training!
- Never stretch a cold muscle. Think of a rubber band: put it in the freezer and it’s stiff. Try to stretch it and it snaps. The same goes for your muscles, ligaments, and tendons: stretch them when they’re cold and you risk incurring a strain or sprain. Always warm up at least 5-10 minutes with some kind of moderate activity before doing your flexibility work to avoid injury.
- Breath Deeply. When holding a yoga pose or stretch, breathe deeply to deliver oxygen to your muscles. Breathing also helps distract you from your strenuous efforts while aiding with the internal cleansing process.
- Never force the movements, when doing yoga or Pilates for core strength, but rather relax and ease into them. Mastering these disciplines takes time, so be patient and let the posture fit you instead of making yourself fit the posture. Not everyone is built the same, and it might be difficult for you to do one pose or motion due to your particular body mechanics. Listen for cues about adapting the stretch or pose to fit your capabilities.
Yoga is an excellent aid for stress reduction. I love it because it releases tension and quiets the mind. When you’re struggling with stress, try one of my Stress Reduction DVD’s.