Don’t Forget to Stretch!

 

I’ll admit it. I was always the one to skip the last 5 minutes of a group workout. The last 5 to 10 minutes of an exercise class, if you don’t know, are usually when the group stretches. I didn’t think I needed it. I had places to be, things to do. I could stretch at home. Except I hardly ever did.

When I was younger, that barely remembered place in my life without kids and plenty of time on my hands, I would do my own workout and then workout with several of my personal training clients. Everyday. Weights, cardio, repeat. I made sure my clients stretched, of course, but for the amount of working out I was doing, I wasn’t stretching nearly enough. It was probably ninety percent hardcore, ten percent stretching.

That wasn’t great for my body.

I could never get into yoga. I wanted to like it, but I just never did. To me a workout was sweating, moving, lifting, jumping…not holding a stretch or a position and focusing on breathing. I could already breathe. I thought I was pretty good at it.

Fast forward twenty years, and things are different. My life is different. My body is different. My opinions are different. Heck, I live in a different town! Change has been a-happenin’.

Let’s focus on the bodily changes. My joints aren’t what they used to be. I know I’ve got 20 more years of wear and tear on them, but I’m an active person who doesn’t eat junk. Shouldn’t they be in better shape?

No, silly. You’ve neglected them. They are rebelling and they are good at it. Sound familiar to any of you?

Fortunately, your body wants to get better. You can help yourself out by continuing your good habits and adding another one – mobility exercises. Focus on your joints. Focus on lengthening your muscles. Learn how to relax as you stretch.

I’ll admit that it’s a little hard to do at first. Relax to get stronger? Does that work? YES! The best program that I’ve found is Essentrics. (I am not affiliated in any way.) There are free videos on YouTube that you can try – just search for Essentrics. I’m sure there are many other programs that work in a similar way.

The reason that I like this is that you’re in continual motion. Stretches are never “held”, you move through them. Your joint is worked in all kinds of ways. I always feel taller, leaner, and in less pain when I’m done with a video.

Now, is yoga bad? Not at all! It just doesn’t work for me. If you like it, continue doing it!

As you get older, flexibility and mobility become more important than bikini butts. Start early, and you won’t have nearly as many problems down the road. QUALITY of life is important, y’all. Work on that.

Jen

 

Author: Jen Adair

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