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Flexibility!

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Fri, May 10, 2013 at 9:15AM

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Flexibility is the ability to move your joints and muscles through their full range of motion. Increasing flexibility is achieved through proper stretching.  Stretching should be performed at the end of your workout when your muscles are warm!

Stretching exercises are an ideal form of flexibility to help relax physically and mentally, and to assist in preventing injuries and muscle soreness.

Static: Slow –sustained stretching. This manner of stretching is safer and more effective.

 

 

The benefits of stretching include:

  • Decreased back pain
  • Reduced muscle tension
  • Faster muscle recovery
  • Increased circulation that enhances healing and maintains long healthy muscles
  • Increased range of motion
  • Relieves stress
  • Improves mental alertness
  • Increased mental and physical relaxation
  • Cultivates the mind/body connections – develops body awareness
  • Reduced risk of injury to joints, muscles, and tendons
  • Reduced severity of painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea) in females

Proper breathing control is important for a successful stretch. Proper breathing helps to relax the body, increases blood flow throughout the body, and helps to mechanically remove lactic acid and other by-products of exercise.

You should be taking slow, relaxed breaths when you stretch, trying to exhale as the muscle is stretching.

The proper way to breathe is to inhale slowly through the nose, expanding the abdomen (not the chest); hold the breath a moment; then exhale slowly through the nose or mouth. Inhaling through the nose has several purposes including cleaning the air and insuring proper temperature and humidity for oxygen transfer into the lungs. The breath should be natural and the diaphragm and abdomen should remain soft. There should be no force of the breath.

If you stretch properly, you should not be sore the day after you have stretched. If you are, then it may be an indication that you are overstretching and that you need to go easier on your muscles by reducing the intensity of some (or all) of the stretches you perform. Overstretching will simply increase the time it takes for you to gain greater flexibility. This is because it takes time for the damaged muscles to repair themselves, and to offer you the same flexibility as before they were injured.

One of the easiest ways to "overstretch" is to stretch "cold" (without any warm-up). A "maximal cold stretch" is not necessarily a desirable thing. Just because a muscle can be moved to its limit without warming up doesn't mean it is ready for the strain that a workout will place on it.

Take care of your body; it’s the only place you have to live.

 

Stretching Sessions are available with your health coaches.


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