I don’t know about you, but when I’m rushed for time, it seems much easier to skip the stretching than the cardio or strength. That worked well for me when I was younger, but as I’ve gotten a bit older, I’ve discovered that stretching is the area I need the MOST!
Why work on flexibility?
- Improves posture – flexible, strong muscles improve your posture (think of a dancer or yogi)
- Fewer injuries – improves your range of motion which allows better muscle stretching = less chance of strains and sprains
- Reduces muscle stiffness – flexible muscles aren’t tight and stiff, stretching when you first wake up really helps with this one!
- Reduces stress – relaxed muscles are less tense – you’ll feel better and less “tight”
- Pain relief – improves circulation and blood flow to muscles which can help relieve tightness and arthritis pain
As you can see, it is VERY important to keep yourself flexible.
How to do it?
- The easiest thing to do is simply stretch. As soon as you wake up, give yourself a good all over stretch. It should feel GREAT.
- If you want a little more, give yoga a try. I’ve found that even twenty minutes in the morning makes a BIG difference in how I feel all day. I’ve put a link to one of my favorite EASY videos at the bottom of this post.
- When you do stretch, it’s important to go slowly and don’t push yourself beyond what feels comfortable.
- Muscles stretch better once they are warmed up, so a few minutes of stretching after your workout is a great time to work on increasing flexibility.
- If you work at a desk, at least once a day, take a break, stand up and stretch all over – this is one I need to do more!
- I know arthritis might not be an issue for many of you, but this site has some nice free videos that show proper form for some basic stretches.
Here is my favorite easy twenty minute yoga video – it has different routines – one for every weekday – all are easy to follow and perfect for beginners: