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S-T-R-E-T-C-H!

This month, I will focus on the multitude of benefits from stretching. Granted, this may seem like a topic that brings back the days of PE classes or school sports where the coaches required you to stretch but it is a vital part of Wellness that needs to become part of your daily routine.Here’s an interesting thought, we can learn from our pets (dogs and cats). After resting for any length of time, dogs and cats enjoy a good stretch, something humans should do as well.It does matter! It won’t be boring if you’re working the muscles, using variations while noting your improvement and, finally, if you don’t make the time for it now, the odds are you will suffer an injury and notice a decreased mobility, which takes away your Quality of Life. Is that what you want?

In researching this topic, I found things have changed dramatically from my high school days and what was once thought of as a good stretch, may not necessarily be true today. For instance, back then, I remember being told to bounce on the leg stretch. This is not recommended now; instead, a slow, steady stretch holding for a count of ten is more effective and recommended method today.

Stretching exercise improves the range of motion through which your limbs can move more effectively. Inflexible persons are especially prone to injury when a limb is forced beyond its normal range of motion. The loss of motion does not happen over night, nor will it be regained over night. Start slowly to restore flexibility and continue to gradually add to your stretching time.
Here’s my TCOY CHALLENGE … starting TOMORROW, are you ready to join me? Set your wake-up clock (sounds much better than ‘alarm clock’ doesn’t it?) a mere five minutes earlier than usual. I encourage waking up to music if possible as it’s much more enjoyable than an annoying buzzer. Take a few seconds to sit up and breathe in the day, this may be the most peaceful moments of your day, enjoy them.

“Do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.”

As the music plays, begin to stretch slowly and hold the stretch. Rise from the bed and continue to stretch. Your goal is to continue stretching for the length of one song (this is typically three minutes). Ideally, you’ll want to increase this to two, three or maybe even five songs, but make a commitment to EVERY DAY doing at least ONE SONG! This is not a month goal rather a new lifestyle habit for the rest of your life! Benefits of stretching & improved flexibility

*May prevent injuries

*Promotes relaxation, thus, stress relief

*Reduces feelings of tightness & discomfort

*Improves your posture…think of it as “flossing for the spine”

Frequency and relaxation are the most important factors to perform a good stretching session. Everything should be done slowly and with an emphasis on the moment, not something you want to rush through. Consider this a time to regain balance and work on breathing in the good and exhaling the bad (mental & physical benefits).

Aim to hold your stretches for a minimum of ten seconds. The longer you can hold the same position the better and work on maintaining deep and steady breathing while stretching.

Stretching diagrams and insight from ACE on FITNESS FACTS for STRETCHING

Your Body’s Maintenance: You can buy other cars, but you only have one body, so take care of it! Neglect can leave you a prisoner within your own body; your lifestyle choices matter.

Be Strong & Be Well

Until next month . . . TCOY!

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