Bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons support, assist and restrict our range of movement. If they are not able to physically change in length (or return to the same length after stretching), how is our range of movement/flexibility improved? Why do we stretch or need to stretch? The answer is for most is simple, we stretch because it makes us feel good and assists us to move freely.
Is Joe Bloggs the business man or the mums at the school gate interested in the science? For most, I’m guessing not! However you will have your own agenda, ambitions, motivations and goals for stretching. It could be, you want to be able to do the splits or a backbend by next summer! If this is your desire, I would be curious and ask you why?
- Practicing stretching will enhance your range of movement, allowing you to move freely in normal everyday life with less risk of injury. Irrespective of your goals or motivation; to dig the garden, stepping onto or off the bus, getting up from the floor or dancing, the benefits are the same; ease and freedom of movement.
- Stretching makes you feel good, it relaxes the body, eases joints and releases tension. Giving you mind, body and spirit wellbeing.
- Stretching will assist optimum posture (neutral spine) and reduce risk of back related pain.
- Stretching will improve your circulation assisting with the transportation of oxygenated blood around the body.
If you are unsure where to start, speak with a fitness professional/instructor or go to an exercise class where the emphasis is stretching. This could be Yoga or Pilates where the exercise sessions will release tight spots in your spine and joints, strengthen supporting muscles and lengthen the whole body. Inform the instructor of your motivations and what you want to achieve perhaps short term and long term goals. When you have been taught safe stretching techniques; simple stretching exercises can be introduced into your everyday life. A good instructor/trainer will give you homework! Practice ideally every day, make it part of your daily routine (like cleaning your teeth). Stretching practices need to be frequent or you will regress and lose any improvements you have achieved.
Keep moving and keep stretching.
Inspired Health and Fitness – The complete approach to health, fitness and wellbeing
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