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Stretch? Or S-T-R-E-T-C-H!
If there is one thing we can all say about getting older, it’s that our bodies need longer to recuperate after doing something we don’t normally do. Have you ever thought to yourself sure I can play softball with the kids only to find that getting out of bed the next day isn’t quite so easy? Or how about that Saturday that you spent getting the garden ready for planting and you can barely sit down in a chair. When we “use” muscles we don’t normally use you can bet we will be quite sore the next day. The great news? That soreness is your ticket that proves you got your body moving and that’s a great thing.
What many of us tend to forget is that stretching is just as important for our bodies as exercise is no matter what your age. As we get older, it’s even more important to take the time to stretch to keep our bodies flexible and limber. When you really do not want to take the time to stretch is probably when you need to do it the most. Personally I know I am sure to regret every single time I don’t take five minutes to stretch after completing an event and the next day proves that regret correct.
Fact is we should be stretching every day not just when we are sore after we do something out of the ordinary. The many reasons we should make stretching part of our day include:
- Stretching decreases muscle soreness. No matter the reason we are sore, taking time to stretch in the morning and throughout the day will help alleviate the soreness.
- Stretching will help improve your posture. We all can use better posture especially after sitting at a desk all day. I know I constantly have to remind myself shoulders back and down, core engaged, head is an extension of your spine. Here is YOUR reminder – pull those shoulders back and sit up straight.
- Stretching may reduce injury. Why? When our muscles are put through a full range of motion through stretching, you decrease the resistance on the muscle when you are active. Meaning you are less likely to injure yourself because your muscle can handle the movement.
- Stretching also reduces stress. Well stretched, flexible muscles hold less stress. This is why yoga plays a significant role in stress relief.
- Stretching also aids the body’s circulation not only because it increases blood supply to our muscles but throughout our entire body.
What are the best stretches to start with? As you should always do, check with your doctor to ensure adding stretching into your routine is okay then start with these simple yet effective stretches:
- Side stretch. Reach your arms overhead and clasp then gently bend to one side then the other side.
- Hamstring stretch. While lying on your back, gently straighten your leg and bring it in the air toward your body. Repeat on other leg.
- Neck stretch. With your arms at your side, slowly turn your neck to one side then bring back to center. Repeat on the other side.
- Quad stretch. Your quads are the largest muscles in your upper legs. Gently hold the wall and bend your knee to bring your foot up behind you so that you can hold in your hand. Repeat on other side.
- Upper body stretch. Stand with feet hip width apart. Bring your bent arms up above your head and hold one arm with the opposite hand and gently bend to the side. You will feel this stretch all the way from your shoulders to your hips.
These five stretches may sound simple but they are very effective and will help you not only look better but feel better too.
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To your health,
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Denise Sanger lives a life split between her love for fitness and her passion for travel particularly to the BEACH. Denise also has a love of marketing and lives in beautiful Suwannee County, Florida. You can find out more about Denise here: About Denise