When we think of participating in an exercise program, we tend to associate it with intense physical activity, sweating, challenging ourselves and hard work. And true, those qualities are often present in a good program, but attaining fitness success is more complex than just the extreme muscle burns, gut wrenching lifts, blood, sweats and tears.
There is an important low-impact and very relaxing piece of the exercise puzzle that must not be forgotten each time that you train. And that is improving your flexibility and stretching.
Please take time every workout to stretch so that you maintain and help promote your muscle recovery and joint flexibility.
It improves quality of life through increased range of motion and takes only five to seven minutes of your time following your pre-workout warm up, and only 10 to 15 minutes at the conclusion of your training session.
Too many times after physical activity, we fail to slow down and stretch before rushing out of the gym on our way to complete the rest of our busy day.
I offer a better alternative for you to try.
Take time for flexibility stretching following your workouts, and use that time to reflect on short and/or long term accomplishments for yourself.
Just relax, acknowledge and enjoy the fact that you have successfully completed a very important part of your day that will absolutely help keep you healthy, vibrant and strong.
I hope everyone sees the benefit and agrees that taking steps to remain in the best shape of your life physically is absolutely one of the most important accomplishments of each and every day.
I encourage you to celebrate and be proud of your efforts, stretch and reflect after every workout.
Not only is stretching very relaxing, but it has additional benefit.
It promotes better posture and may help avoid chronic injuries due to poor postural alignment and musculature imbalances.
Flexibility training may help realign skeletal structure that has adapted to habits of incorrect posture and poor exercise technique.
After including consistent flexibility training over a period of time, you will often find it easier to maintain posture throughout the day, and improved muscular balance will make the efforts of daily activities less strenuous.
Increased range of motion at the joints may also be attained.
Flexibility training can provide for a greater joint efficiency and result in a safer movement.
A mobile joint moves more easily through a range of motion and requires less energy to execute.
Also, the development of your functional strength is enhanced.
Stretches performed for your entire body will prepare you for movements routinely executed throughout the course of your normal day. (Lifting, turning, kneeling, walking, etc…)
Page 2 of 2 - Stretches typically mimic these every day movements, challenge the muscles and joints involved, and prepare you to perform them with ease.
Most agree that stretching and increased range of motion may also help with injury prevention. A person may decrease chances of injury because the maximum range available before soft tissue damage occurs will not likely be exceeded.
And fitness enthusiasts of all levels certainly don’t want to miss out on the benefit of reduced muscle soreness that comes with stretching following strenuous physical activity.
Effective muscle recovery is another important benefit of regular stretching you want to include in your comprehensive fitness program.
Maximum muscle recovery promotes short-term maximum muscle performance for your next workout, and long term overall program compliance and success.
Finally stretching absolutely promotes personal enjoyment, relaxation and reduced stress. There is nothing like a good long stretch after a challenging physical workout. It will relax, rejuvenate and prepare you for the rest of the day like you wouldn’t believe. That is if you don’t fall asleep right there on the spot. Give it a try.
After your workout, I encourage you to just lay back and get completely lost in your stretches for the entire body.
Take your time and lengthen your muscles back to normal.
This will allow for proper recovery, prevent cramping, decrease soreness, and reduce the risk of injury often related to tight muscles while performing post workout physical tasks at home or work.
Until next week, please enjoy more stretches, increase muscle and joint flexibility, reflect and acknowledge your accomplishments after workouts, and strive for maximum recovery to propel your quality of life and fitness results to the next level.
For more information on getting started with weight loss and healthy nutrition products, stop by Reggies Personal Training, 104 E. Main, Shawnee, or call Reggie at 613-0237.