September 24, 2010

DON'T FORGET to STRETCH!!!

I betcha she's fun at parties.
If you have read my previous posts, you will know that I am falling apart. I would like to think it is just age related (I hate that excuse) but in all honesty, it was all my fault. I did not attend to stretching as I should have. If I had spent as much attention on flexibility training as I did in the cardio room, I would still be able to do the splits (which, of course, would be a hit at parties). So really, it is due to my lack of flexibility that I have no real social life to speak of.....kidding...sort of.

Flexibility leads to a muscle that has more give and more give leads to a greater range of motion at a specific joint. When a joint has a healthier range of motion, it gives more and supports more. Therefore, a healthy balance of flexibility and strength may/can support your bones in a healthier way and helps to prevent injury. Meaning, for those who love exercise, if you want to continue to exercise into your older years, you better start or keep stretching. Stretching is like a bank account. You are making deposits every time you stretch building on your health investment for the future (pretty impressive analogy, eh? Kathi Cameron is on FIRE!).

The most inflexible muscles in adults are usually the hamstrings (upper back of the thigh) and the hip flexors (those little muscles in the front of your hip that raise the knee up). If you were to sit in front of the TV and do 30 - 45 minutes of stretching per day, you would definitely feel a difference over time (if not immediately).

There are some tips to consider for maximum benefits....
1. Be sure that your body is warm before stretching. Stretch after a bath or shower or take a walk around the block. You can even walk in place while watching your favorite show for about 5 - 10 minutes (just close the curtain or the neighbours may think you've finally cracked).
2. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and then after a quick break do it again. Research suggests (unless there is something new out there) that by holding for 30 seconds you are influencing muscle length (flexibility).
3. To start, choose a few stretches and add more as you start getting into it. Start with a hamstring stretch (see pic below) and a hip flexor/quadriceps stretch (see pic below). For low back, add a back stretch (see pic).
Hamstring Stretch

Hip Flexor / Quadriceps Stretch


Single knee to chest "Low Back" stretch
Whatever you do, be sure to stretch. My purpose in life is to serve as a cautionary tale to others...don't follow in my gimped up footsteps. Stretch for life and you will be able to move for life!
That's all I got. Have a wonderful weekend, go out with friends, eat something fun, have some wine, and toast your fabulousness (I know...too Sex and the City...but whatever...it's my blog.)
K

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