Do Not Underestimate the Importance of Stretching
By Pamela Shenk, CHt
Still not getting the results you want from your fitness routine? The solution could be something as simple as adding stretching to your daily regimen.
You see, all day long while you’re sitting at your desk or lounging in your favorite chair at home, your muscles are stuck in a shortened position. So when you try to become more active, you start to feel it: tight hamstrings, a sore back, stiff hips and more. Sound like you? Loosen up already! Here is what you need to know.
Stretching is the deliberate lengthening of muscles in order to increase muscle flexibility and joint range of motion. Stretching activities are an important part of any exercise or rehabilitation program. They help warm the body up prior to activity thus decreasing the risk of injury as well as muscle soreness. That’s why with any type of exercise, it is always best to warm up first.
Stretching by itself and/or yoga benefit many parts of the body. For instance, you will gain increased flexibility and joint range of motion as well as improve circulation, balance, coordination, posture and stress relief –just to name a few.
More and more physicians are recommending yoga, stretch class, and physical therapy to their patients. It certainly is a good way to begin feeling better without having to take a medication, which may sometimes cause side effects. Even taking a Zumba or Jazzercise class will help.
Keep in mind, there are many different ways to stretch. Just make sure the person you are working with is a professional who knows how to encourage you to do better without harming your body. Many hospitals offer exercise, stretch, yoga, Zumba and more to their community. Silver Sneakers is a program that is also offered in many locations that might be beneficial to you. If you check, you will find some ‘stretch’ classes and or yoga classes not far from where you live.
But again, check with your physician first before starting any fitness program.
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