Stretching feels so good! If you can’t imagine your life without lifting – WAIT until you add in flexibility training.
A Quick & Easy Flexibility Routine to get Bendy Fast
I really can’t emphasize enough how important I think stretching is as part of a healthy fitness program. Both men and women can benefit greatly from incorporating agility training into their routine.
The best time to stretch is post-workout when your muscles are relaxed and you have completed any challenging strength-training exercises. However, light bending during your warm-up is fine and some athletes even like to ease muscle tightness between heavy lifts by lengthening muscle fibers during rest periods. I recommend my clients dedicate a minimum of ten minutes a day to improving flexibility. This time can be throughout their workout or as part of the cool-down.
Here are 10 Good Reasons to Stretch!
- Straighter Posture. So many aspects of your life improve when you stand a little taller!
- Improved Balance. When you are holding positions your body is unfamilar with, stabilizer muscles kick in to save the day!
- Better Quality of Life. Playing sports, holding children and even getting into a low sports cars are all activities that can be ruined due to arthritis, a disease that can be prevented by stretching.
- More Attractive Muscle Shapes. Lengthening the muscle fibers as they repair to grow stronger develops beautiful body symmetry.
- Reduced Back Pain. Including light trunk rotations will improve spine health.
- Ease Muscle Soreness. Slow, light stretching will release tension and relieve the tight feeling of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)
- Mental Fortitude. Stronger willpower grows as you overcome the urge to give up and begin to enjoy the focus required to hold deep stretches.
- Less Chance of Injury. Staying nimble allows you to take falls like a champ, and if you do get banged up, you will recover faster.
- Establishes Mind/Body Connection. Keep your body in harmony.
- Promotes circulation. Stretching increases blood supply to the muscles and joints which allow for greater nutrient transportation and improves the circulation of blood through the entire body.
My early years as a jazz and tap dancer developed my good habit of stretching – although I only finally achieved the splits at 24, as I prepared for my debut as a fitness competitor! Increasing one’s flexibility does take dedication. My determination to wow the audience with a drop to the floor in a full split during my 90 second routine pushed me to spend time working on this aspect of my health.
Photos: by Larry Niven
Watch the video below for some of my favourite stretches to ease muscle stiffness, relieve hip flexor tightness and progress towards splits. Want more free advice & fitness tips? Get access by signing up here!
Very interesting article! I have backpain and no flexibility since always and my doctor recommended me a safe method explained on itestediloved.com and since I am doing it (about 3 weeks) I am feeling much better and almost no more backpain + already more flexible (big difference!)! a true miracle tx god my doc is not only after meds!
I’m so happy to hear you are already experiencing positive results by simply adding in stretching! Spread the word!
Love the stretching, but have to watch out as I get cramps very quickly in the legs then it is a problem to get up quickly before it becomes a full fledged cramp. Have found since doing the exercises, those that I can I feel much better, sleep like a baby and am more energized, not losing the weight but hey I will take this feeling I get, even if I feel sore for a bit afterwards Feel much tighter if that makes sense and noticed that my shoulder an back pain have been reduced greatly, therapist said that is because the muscle is building up in the shoulders.
Thanks for stretching, Mary!!! Not everyone takes the time to do it. You should double check that you are drinking enough water, that can fend off cramps. Also, are you a banana fan? That can start to work on your recommended daily intake of important vitamins – Potassium and magnesium supplements can help with muscle cramps.