The poses that I have them contort themselves into and hold may look like they are training for Cirque Du Soleil however it is life! Their friends often ask them what their secret is to staying so mobile and fit for life. I laugh and tell them it is their good genes, youthful personalities and their husbands that keep them on their toes and fit … However, although this may be partly true, it is their commitment to coming to class to staying supple and strong that separates them from the norm. There is no secret and they may even enjoy the social scene they have created from the class!
They carry their own suitcases, can get up and down from the floor to play with their grandchildren, travel the world on walking tours, walk daily around the river and down at the beach, ride horses, play state level golf, ride their bikes around the river and I aspire to be as active and able to contort myself into poses like they do when I am their age! Well done girls 🙂
So why is flexibility so important?
Unfortunately as you age, your muscles become stiffer and you start to experience a decrease in range of motion in your joints. This can hinder your lifestyle and effect even your day to day activities. Stretching regularly can help to counter this inevitable progress and help you maintain the life you live today.
It doesn’t matter how old you are or how fit you are, everyone can reap the benefits from stretching regularly. You can stretch at the desk, in front of the TV, after a quick warm up or workout, in a hotel room or park or even before you go to bed. The good news is it doesn’t take a huge amount of time and can render great results!
A few of the benefits of a regular stretching program include:
- Decreased muscle tension and soreness
- Increased range of movement in the joints and flexibility
- Enhanced muscular coordination
- Increased circulation of the blood to various parts of the body
- Increased energy levels (resulting from increased circulation)
- Aid in workout recovery and flush out of muscle waste products
- Injury prevention
- It feels great!!
The adaptation of western society has meant we are putting our bodies into many postures that the human body was not designed from – for example, sitting in a sedentary posture for long hours at the desk or in a car and leaning over a work bench for extended periods of time. All these postures will cause us to tighten our bodies, round our shoulders and likely will cause pain and discomfort.
An increased range of motion will also have benefits to many sporting activities. Being able to take you joint through a greater range of motion, with developed strength, means you can produce more power in your activity and improve your athletic ability. It also means the joint can go through a greater range before injury results decreasing your risk of injury.
You may have noticed your dog or cat stretching when they get up of the floor, taking their joints through their full range. They too reap the benefits of stretching. Most of us as humans have forgotten how good it feels and the importance of stretching, especially with the development and adaptation of our lifestyles. If you are unsure on how to stretch safely and effectively, chat to your local gym or physiotherapist and get stretching!