If you have pets you know how important stretching is to them. My cats, for instance, have relished in their stretches. Have you ever stretched right before getting out of bed and felt like you are giving yourself a long, revitalizing wake-up kiss, like you are in a world of your own?
There are three standpoints of working out. This will be another blog. One of them is flexibility. This is important and often overlooked. Yoga is increasing in popularity and I recommend it. But you can always do a stretch or two on your own - standing or sitting around (maybe this will be another blog), or with a friend. If you use a wall or person for resistance, it can be easier to increase your flexibility. Using a person may be more fun, and they can move you around more than a wall can!
Flexibility increases the range of motion on your joints, which allows you to life weights and do cardiovascular activity in a more proper way, utilizing more muscle fiber and gaining in strength in a balanced way. Your muscles and spine become more supple. Without stretching, you may be more prone to injury and back pain. Studies have shown that stretching may improve circulation to joints and muscle, and may actually help decelerate joint degenerative processes. Stretching is important at the beginning and end of a workout. Stretching warms up your muscles and gets your circulation with important nutrients and electrolytes flowing to the muscle cells. Stretching after a work out can do the same, and can relax the muscles.
Here are examples of stretches to do with a friend:
1. Sit down. Bend forward straight, reaching for your toes. Tell someone to push down on your back. Tell them to stop if you feel a lot of pain. Hold each position 15 seconds. Breathe. See if each time or day you do this, your hip joint and hamstrings become more flexible. And I am sure this feels good! This is my favorite!
2. Lie down (supine position). Try to keep your lower back flat on the mat or floor. Raise one leg at a time over your head as much as you can. Now, have someone slowly, warning you beforehand, lower your leg millimeters at a time. Tell them to stop if you feel a lot of pain. Hold each position 15 seconds. Breathe. See if each time or day you do this, your hip joint and hamstrings become more flexible. And I am sure this feels good!
3. Stretch out one gluteus maximus muscle at a time! Lie down (supine position). Place one leg over your hips, straight out. Bring the toes as high to your waist as you can. Have someone push the leg down and over your hips. Tell them to stop if you feel a lot of pain. Hold each position 15 seconds. Breathe. See if each time or day you do this, your hip joint and hamstrings become more flexible. And I am sure this feels good! These muscles are the largest and perhaps most powerful of the body! Feel the stretch!
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Some information from this blog is obtained from tp://www.workoutsforwomen.com/stretch.asp Accessed on November 8, 2005