Stretching…It’s your Dessert

I sometimes feel as if I have met a million people in my line of work; new gym members that I am instructing, new clients, etc…  And if I could only count how may people have said to me "Give me  a program that will guarantee weight loss!!" …I could be a millionaire if I had a dime for each time I have heard that line.  The problem, though, is that there are so many components to health and fitness that get ignored because of this type of thinking.  Mainly…Stretching..

Everyone knows you have to stretch, but most don’t really know why (or care).  They just know that it is not for weight loss, so they are not interested.  With such little time to exercise no one wants to waste time in an activity that seems so useless to them.  This is true for EVERYONE; the novice exerciser right up to the athlete (and the athletes are the WORST offenders.)

The truth is, as you get older, flexibility (what you gain from stretching) is most important.  If you are not flexible, you can’t move.  If you can’t move, you can’t do all of your other exercises.  Aging also tightens the muscles and it becomes more important to stretch them.  If you are at all active, you are continuously tightening your muscles,  so you really need to stretch to loosen them.  You will actually create more problems by staying active and not stretching.  For example, most active people have very tight hip flexors (the muscles in the front of your body that connect your hips to your thighs).  If you have a bad back, it may be because of tightness in your hip flexor area pulling you down rather than anything actually being wrong with your back.

The more you increase your flexibility and range of motion, the more active and healthy you can be.  Make time to stretch everyday.  Make sure your muscles are warm first (do not stretch with cold muscles) and hold your stretches for 15 to 30 seconds.

About Kimberly Dawson, M.S.

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