Stretching is so very important. So many times I see clients in the gym working out really hard on the machines or with weights and never stretch. They are "asking" for an injury. In my classes, we stretch before our workout once we've warmed up our muscles and then stretch again at the end of the class. However, there are more reasons to stretching than just prevent injuries.
We all know that children are very flexible and agile. I’ve often watched them and wished I could do some of the things they do. However, once a child reaches puberty, there are biomechanical changes that clearly affect flexibility.
Research on aging and flexibility tends to support the theory that small children are quite supple and that flexibility tends to level off at puberty and then begins to decrease unless an individual is extremely athletic and trains to stay flexible.
Along with the aging process comes a decrease in normal muscle function including strength, endurance, flexibility and agility. These functions are even more adversely affected when inactivity, disease and injury are present. HOWEVER, this loss seems to be minimized in those who remain physically active.
A program of regular physical activity can contribute significantly to joint stability and flexibility for individuals of any age. Resistance training (such as weights, tubes, balls) enhances the tensile strength of tendons and ligaments, and stretching exercises (such as stretching and cool-down, pilates, tai chi and yoga classes) maintain the suppleness of tendons, ligaments, and muscles, thus allowing a full range of motion of each joint.
Stretching exercises and yoga enhance your range of motion, prevent injury, and reduce pain and stiffness. Even if you have limited mobility in your legs, for example, you may still benefit from stretches and flexibility exercises to prevent or delay further muscle atrophy.
So if you are presently living a sedentary lifestyle maybe due to an injury, osteoarthritis, chronic pain, or other issues, tai chi, yoga and stretching are very gentle on the body and can even be done in a chair if you are unable to stand. Remember …. A little is better than nothing. It will improve your outlook, your mood and your life!!!
I believe in YOU and I KNOW you can do it!