Because stretching is great for you. Why? According to the Mayo Clinic, stretching may help you:
- Improve your joint range of motion (your flexibility)
- Improve your athletic performance
- Decrease your risk of injury
Mayo goes on to say:
Stretching can help improve flexibility, and range of motion of your joints. Better flexibility may:
- Improve your performance in physical activities
- Decrease your risk of injuries
- Help your joints move through their full range of motion
- Enable your muscles to work most effectively
Simply put, stretching can give you more freedom of movement for your physical and everyday activities. You can, and should, keep stretching no matter how young or old you are (of course, check with your doctor to be sure the stretches you choose are appropriate for you). Note: Look for flexibility or stretching exercises – these will focus on .
Different types of stretches – Static & Dynamic
There are two basic types of stretches, Static and Dynamic. There is actually a third type, Ballistic, but it includes bouncing and for professionally fit people. We’ll focus on dynamic and static, which will benefit us most. Note that most exercises don’t mention the type of stretch. This may be because once you know how to do the exercise, you can change it to suit your needs. Let me explain.
Chris Lang tells us: “Static is holding-usually 30-60 seconds per stretch. Best way to increase your flexibility. Dynamic is movement based-sprinters and exercisers perform leg swings, trunk rotations and arm rotations to “loosen” up the joints and muscles before exercise sessions. Excellent way to warm-up and contribute to performance.”
So, you can see that you can easily change a dynamic stretch into a static stretch simply by limiting the movement and holding the stretch. Easy – right?
So, how can you start
Set aside the same time every day to stretch. Unlike strength exercises, you can stretch every day. We have a few simple stretch exercises you can try, most of which you can do at the office, and some of them no one will even know you are exercising!
|Stretch yourself!||Stretching is good for you! It helps keep you flexible so you can reach, bend, and turn more easily. And if you combine stretching with other activities, like strength exercises, it may also prevent injuries.
Some ways to increase flexibility are ballet, yoga, martial arts, or pilates (say: puh-LAH-teez). You can also do stretches for specific parts of your body. Make sure to warm up first. You just need to walk or jog in place for 5 to 10 minutes.
Speaking of stretching, what’s the difference between Yoga and Pilates?
|Definition||An ancient practice known as path to both physical and mental||Pronounced “Puh-LAH-Teez”, a physical fitness system|
|Practice||In a group sitting on a yoga mat with the aid of a yoga instructor||On the Pilates mats|
|Started||5000 years ago||Around 80 years ago|
Pilates is based on these six principles
- Asanas (proper exercise)
- Pranayama (correct breathing)
- Saucha (proper diet)
- Dhyana (positive thinking and meditation)
- Savasana (complete relaxation)
Achieving proper alignment in each yoga posture, and moving into greater ranges of motion while staying connected to one’s breath, challenges your comfort level and leads to transformation from the inside out; practitioners of yoga often see improvements in physical strength, balance, flexibility, stress, and energy levels.
Differences between Yoga & Pilates
There are a few key differences between and Pilates, but they both improve flexibility. Yoga concentrates mostly on increasing strength and flexibility of the spine and limbs; Pilates focuses on building abdominal strength first, and then symmetrical musculature as well as overall flexibility.
If you have already added stretching to your weekly workouts, Congratulations! And if you haven’t, we hope you will consider this important addition to your routine. Always keep in mind that while stretching is great for you, these exercises alone do not improve your balance, endurance or strength so be sure you fit all four (4) types of exercises into your week – Balance, Endurance, Flexibility and Strength – BEFS!
Thank you for spending time with us today. Wishing you the best of health!
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Flexibility / Stretch Bands are fun and can help make your stretches more enjoyable… A note of caution – Be sure your bands are in good working condition. Do not use stretch bands that are old, torn or have holes in them as the elastic may break.