Flexibility, if not specifically exercised, is one of the first physical abilities we lose as we age. I’ve heard so many friends and family laugh off their inflexibility. It’s entertaining to watch an inflexible young person (mostly because they have plenty of time to regain and retain flexibility) not so funny for middle agers — when one wrong move can set you back weeks.
This blog post was inspired by the young and inflexible but certainly applies to all.
It’s good practice to set up a stretch routine – before and after exercising.
Before beginning a workout – dynamic stretching (moving through full range of motion around a joint) prepares the body for the physical work to come. It warms your ligaments, tendons, muscles and that huge sausage skin like web they’re covered in, called fascia (which can harbour lots of adhesions, aka knots).
After exercise your body is best prepared for static stretching (non moving sustained stretch).
The heat created by exercise warms all the connective tissue and muscles, facilitating the stretch. The goal for static stretching is to improve flexibility. It’s best to hold stretches a minimum of 30-60 seconds and repeat 3-4 times. Your body needs this – to retain flexibility, to remain functional, no laughing matter.
There are various ways to stretch.
I offer my clients (actually it’s mandatory:) a specific active/assisted/passive stretch with the aim to retain the elongation that occurs when going through the actual stretch. It’s a form of Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) used often in rehabilitation settings. There’s a few techniques in the PNF method, basically, they all involve some form of muscle contraction followed by a passive stretch. It improves flexibility and range of motion.
Implementing a stretch routine is a simple thing you can do NOW to combat postural stress, muscle imbalance, chronic tension, age related functional decline – to name a few.
Contact me to discuss an integrative functional training program that will address your flexibility needs.
Stand tall, Breathe deep!