When you talk about fitness and exercise, many people ignore one important aspect of a healthy fitness regime, stretching every day.
While it is important to get enough cardiovascular and weight bearing exercise every week, it's also extremely important to stretch.
That is right! No matter what your age or activity level, stretching should be a part of your daily routine.
What is so great about stretching?
Well, as we age we have less range of motion in our joints, and our muscles also become tighter. If you are like many people, at one time or another you've probably bent over to pick up something you have dropped and realized that it was not as easy as it once was. Maybe you are not quite as limber as you used to be, or you have lost some range of motion.
People who stretch on a regular basis enjoy the benefits of more flexible muscles and joints, which gives them increased function.
One of the best things about stretching is that everyone can do it, and everyone should do it every day. You do not have to be incredibly fit to stretch, nor do you have to have tons of time.There is no excuse not to stretch. Many people do it and do not even realize they are doing it.
So when should you stretch?
Always do it in the morning right when you get up. It is also a good idea to stretch right before you go to bed. Stretch while you are watching television, at your desk or computer, or even while doing chores like making dinner or folding laundry. If you have been exercising you have a natural tendency to stretch out more frequently.
If you participate in cardiovascular or weight bearing exercises, stretch both before and after your workouts to keep muscles and joints warm, limber, and injury free. In the beginning of exercise you want to warm up large muscle groups with big body movements. You do not want to take it to the end range of your joints. This may cause an injury or strain on the muscle tissues. At the end of a workout, when your body is all warmed up you can really stretch to the limits. Especially after lifting weights when you do a lot of stretching you lengthen your muscle fibers, and this actually makes you stronger.
In addition to keeping joints and muscles in good shape, there are other benefits to stretching. Stretching enhances muscle coordination, and also increases blood circulation. Stretching also breaks up and prevents the formation of fibrous adhesions that form in the tissues. This scar tissue leads to pain and other symptoms. Stretching also increases your energy levels. Not to mention stretching just feels great!
So be kind to your muscles and joints and add stretching to your daily routine. In addition to stretching, treat your muscles and joints right by taking care of your spine. Getting chiropractic adjustments on a regular basis helps to ensure your spine is in proper alignment. When your spine is in line your body will function at its highest possible level, and that will ensure your muscles don't get tight.