You might think that stretching is only for athletes, but think again! Everyone needs stretching to prevent joint stiffness and muscle aches, even more so as we get older.
If you have a desk job and spend your free time as a couch potato without any type of fitness routine, you will most likely experience back pain on a daily basis because your unused muscles, ligaments, and joints pretty much slowly weaken and deteriorate. This results in your ever-diminishing flexibility (ever wonder why it keeps getting harder to bend over as you get older?!). So if you can still reach your toes from a standing or sitting position, congratulations! If not, it’s time to get your stretch on at least two to three times a week. But why stop there– for best results stretch daily for 5-15 minutes. It could be part of your bed time routine and help you relax to get a good night’s rest.
Needless to say, if you do work out as part of a fitness and weight loss plan, it is simply imperative to perform basic stretching exercises before and after your workout sessions to prevent injury. And speaking of injury– stretching can aid the healing process, but be sure to use your body as a guide. In other words: stop when it hurts! Effective stretching is supposed to feel challenging as our flexibility improves, but it should never result in pain.
Recommended stretching exercise videos:
My personal favorites are the short “Controlled Stretch” videos with Autumn Calebrese available via Beachbody on Demand. They are calming and feel good. Autumn explains the technique and purpose of each stretch to help you understand and master it. You can use the videos with any other workout program or by themselves as a solid stretching routine. Check them out and let me know what you think.
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