Stretching is the new sexy, especially as we age
I have always worked on my movement and mobility. In fact, I have done a dynamic warm up a few times a week, for practically two decades. “Stretching” the muscles and working on mobility has always been a component in my programs.
But, it really took me turning 40 to really understand the importance of range of motion and flexibility. I joke around with my clients that my body literally became tighter and stiffer on my 40th birthday.
Now let’s face it, I work out hard. I have been running competitively for over 15 years. My body takes a beating and my muscles get tight. But as I age, I am noticing that tightness increase.
Lately, I have been spending quite more time on muscle flexibility, joint mobility and total body range of motion.
Stretching and mobility work, just like any form of fitness training, needs good technique, smart progressions and attention to the details. I am not an advocate of mindless stretching and haphazardly pulling on the muscles. This lack of awareness can cause injury and damage to the muscles and joints.
Body position, muscle tension, breathing, and posture all play a vital role when we are performing mobility/flexibility drills.
Flexibility will work primarily on muscle lengthening and release, while mobility drills will work more for dynamic movements and joint range of motion.
We need both.
I recommend adding a few 5-30 minute routines into your weekly schedule. A little bit can go a long way.
You can perform a stretch or two as the shower is warming up or while the coffee is brewing.
Every 45 minutes at work, you should stand up and perform a couple stretches for a couple minutes
You can go to a yoga class.
You can perform a dynamic warm-up and stretch routine as part of your workout.
The key is to find what works for you and your lifestyle.
Just do not forget about this aspect of fitness.
If we lose our range of motion and our ability to move freely, we get hurt more, have more pain and ultimately lose our ability to do the things we enjoy in life.
Take the time to stretch. It will do wonders for your body, mind and soul.