Fitness

Friday Fitness – The Importance Of Stretching

Stretching is one of the best things we can do – and whether you workout or not, the benefits are endless. It is often overlooked more as a “task” rather than being a truly positive act. Y’all – I cannot express the importance of it enough. Stretching has endless physical benefits, among many: better posture, fewer aches and pains, less likelihood for tight or stiff muscles. But the psychological benefits are equally as important. Benefits include things such as; greater confidence, a clearer mindset and an overall more positive outlook on life.


“…stretching increases your blood flow and circulation for a healthier body and sends oxygen to your brain for a clearer mind and sunnier moods,” says Peggy Hall,

I stretch every single morning, even if its just a quick bend over with legs straight and touch the ground. It is my number one way, shy of brushing my teeth, for me to wake up and truly get my body moving. Its beneficial in the morning and evenings, but it is crucial post workout.

burn baby burn

I get such a high from my workouts, but I swear – the main times I get sore is when I DON’T stretch. Again, its not just for people who work out. Did you know that sitting for long periods of time is actually bad for your glute muscles? The nerves that activate your glutes quite simply shut down. Regular stretch breaks keep those nerves active and can help deter from future hip and lower back issues.

A simple straight leg stretch is a go-to for me.

Although stretching is largely beneficial – you have to stretch in the right way, and the “right way” is exclusive to each individual. Modify, adapt, and adjust the stretch to suit your particular needs. Use padding under your knees for example, or try the same stretch sitting down, lying down, or standing up if it’s more comfortable for you. For example, my shoulder keeps me from extending the right side of my upper body – so I have to adjust my hips to keep my spinal chord from misalignment. Feel it out, and do what works for you. Tightness from sore muscles is not abnormal, but sharp pain in joints and bones is not.

Today’s yoga pose: Triangle pose with a bent knee variation. (Trikonasana Variation Bent knee)

Essentially the form is the same as with the Warrior II pose. Back leg is straight with toes facing forward, and front leg is bent with knee and toes pointing outwards. Keeping the chest facing outward, lean towards bent knee (without resting full weight on your bent leg), you can extend the arm that is closer to the ground (bent knee side), straight towards the ground – or choose to keep it inwards. I keep it inward simply to mirror the form for each side with my arm situation. Reach the opposing arm up towards the sky, with your gaze upward towards fingertips. Hold for about 6 breaths,and with each breathe, deepen your bend and stretch into your bent knee while maintaining your balance.

 

“The pain that you are feeling cannot compare to the joy that is coming.” – Romans 8:18