30 Days To A Healthier, More “Fitter” You Series! (Stretching & Flexibility)

stretchgirlSo far we have talked about all the healthy benefits of aerobic exercise and resistance exercise.

Today we are going to talk about stretching and the importance of flexibility!

Flexibility allows us to be more effective and have more enjoyable experiences not just in exercise but also in our day-to-day activities.  

Poor flexibility decreases our body’s ability to maintain proper posture, limits proper joint motion increasing the risk for low-back pain, joint pain, and injury during everyday activities. 

Stretching improves our flexibility and increases our range of motion.  

Range of motion refers to both the distance a joint can move and the direction in which it can move.

All of us should include some form of stretching into our exercise program because as we age, our muscles tighten and we have less range of motion in our joints. 

Simple activities that we once took for granted, like cutting our toenails, picking things up from the floor or zipping a dress, can all become difficult. 

A regular stretching program can help lengthen your muscles and make these daily activities easier and more enjoyable. 

Stretching, done properly, also helps to relax tense muscles which result from a stressful lifestyle. 

The feeling of relaxation after stretching can bring a sense of well-being and relief from your daily tension. 

Stretching also helps to reduce or even prevent lower back pain. 

This is because greater flexibility and range of motion in the hamstrings and muscles of the hips and pelvis help to reduce the stress on your spine that “causes” lower back pain. 

Stretching also improves circulation of blood to the muscles and joints. 

Increased blood circulation brings nutrients to our cells and removes waste byproducts, like carbon dioxide, from our blood. 

I always recommend that people warm up their body 5-10 minutes prior to stretching.  

This could mean anything from walking on a treadmill, jogging in place or just some light dancing around your house for a few minutes. 

This gives your body adequate time for your blood supply to shift to the muscles, warm them and make them much more pliable. 

Muscles, tendons and ligament are quite stiff or inelastic at normal resting temperatures.  

However, when warmed up with blood supply they become much more elastic and stretchable.  

This is the reason that your muscles may feel much looser after 5-10 minutes of beginning an activity because they are more elastic.  

Real flexibility exercises should be performed after your exercise period, preferably in a warm environment. 

Think of a rubber band that has been stored in a freezer.rubber band

When you take the rubber band out of the freezer it snaps, tears and breaks. 

When you stretch your muscles before warming them up, this same scenario can happen. 

Not as dramatically, of course, but you get the idea. 

Do you do some form of stretching or yoga daily? I would love to hear back from you!

For more on healthy living with a positive approach Click here to get a complimentary online hand-guide of “The Livings Key Principles – For Creating Wholeness, Peace and Health From The Inside Out!”

Healthy Blessings,

 Gena Livings

 

 


9 Comments

  1. I’m always saying I need more stretching in my life! I love yoga, but with a new baby, I haven’t done it for a while now. My muscles are screaming for a good stretch. I think I will go do it now! Thanks for the inspiration.
    Megan recently posted…5 steps to a Successful Craft Show! (and a free printable!)My Profile

    • Hello Megan,
      We can all use a little more stretching in our life! Way to motivate yourself into getting back into the routine. I love it!

      Healthy blessings,
      Gena 🙂

  2. I practice yoga every day, and have done for about 15 years or more now. I no longer go to classes, but I really love to start off my day with my yoga ritual. I am positive it has kept me flexible and supple over the years. If I’m feeling a little stiff from too much time hunched over my laptop, a light yoga stretching and balancing routine halfway through the day helps with that too. I love yoga!

    • Hello Andrea!
      Yoga is a wonderful practice for creating both strength and flexibility! I especially love hot yoga. I don’t know if you have ever experienced that before or not but you might want to give it a try if you ever get the opportunity. I think you might enjoy it!

      Healthy blessings,
      Gena 🙂

  3. Great info – and great timing! I just turned 40 and am more motivated than ever to take care of my body. Thank you.
    Suzi Shumaker (@SuziShumaker) recently posted…What Does the Tea Party (TCOT) Have in Common With the Church?My Profile

    • Hello Suzi!
      I’m so glad to know that you are motivated and inspired to take care of your body in a healthy way! Now is the perfect time to begin a healthy lifestyle that will provide positive outcomes for the rest of your life! Woohooo!!!

      Healthy blessings and thank you for commenting today!
      Gena 🙂

  4. People underestimate the value of stretching. As a runner, it’s vital that I stretch.

    The rubber band in the freezer is an excellent analogy to describe what happens to the muscles. Nursing an injury that could have been prevented with proper stretching can be frustrating.

    Great article, Gena!

    Blessings.
    Penny
    Penny McDaniel recently posted…Wise UpMy Profile

    • Hi Penny!
      I agree with you that stretching is a vital component of healthy living exercise!
      I love the rubber band analogy also, it really drives in the point!
      I use this analogy with all my clients. I actually give them a rubber band and have them stick it in the freezer so that they can feel the results.

      Thank you for commenting,
      Healthy blessings,
      Gena 🙂

  5. I have always been a large proponent of stretching, but the older I get the more I value it!
    The Mighty Jerd recently posted…The Realities of StretchingMy Profile

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