Wednesday, January 4, 2017

No Time to Stretch!

So, how are you?  Have you escaped the season so far with no cold?  I've had an awful one for a month now.  Trying to keep my smile on, but I feel yucky...
Can you see how red my nose is?  I look almost as bad as I feel.
Enough about that...back to the blog.  Do you exercise?  If so, how often do you stretch before / after you work out?  Most people I ask say, "No way, I don't have time for that!"  During my three year journey, I have learned so much about health and wellness.  One of the MOST important things is the importance of focusing on flexibility and mobility as part of my training.

If you are a regular subscriber to my blog, you may remember that two years ago I was in pain with my knee 24 hours / day, 7 days / week.  My hips?  They used to throb, especially if I was on my feet too much.  I could see the writing on the wall.  I would need not only a knee replacement, but a double hip replacement as well.

Under the direction of a new personal trainer, I began a regimen focused on strength training, with mobility / flexibility exercises built into my routine.  The combination of both made ALL the difference for me.  I was scheduled for surgery at the end of January, but in less than one month of this shift in my training, the surgery was cancelled.  My knee is now pain free.  And my hips?  The only time they ache is if I neglect the flexibility work.

Yes, I do still get a little achey here and there.  But pain in either?  Not at all.

Some stretches I learned from my trainer and others I learned from taking yoga classes.  Because of the pain with my hips and knee, most of them focus on the lower body.  The pain in my shoulder haunted me for the latter part of 2017.  A lot of my recovery has been focused on combinations of stretching, strengthening and rest.  Here is a great video demonstrating three different shoulder stretches.  Check it out:

The Best Yoga Moves to Improve Shoulder Flexibility by Dirty Yoga

The bottom line for most people starting out their fitness regimen is this:  TIME.  "I don't have the time to stretch."  "Really?  Why bother?"  "It's not that serious."  I get it.  I do.  But, unfortunately, as we age, our ligaments, muscles and joints age with us.  Continued use of these results in aches and pains that make life more challenging.  The best way to avoid this is to stay healthy through a combination of good nutrition, strengthening and endurance exercises.  Again, "Why bother?"  Mobility and flexibility work should be a regular part of your fitness routine.  It is critical for avoiding injury, helping with recovery, and keeping your overall fitness level optimal. 
Using the treadmill/elliptical?  Stretch.  Lifting weights?  Stretch.  Doing core work?  Stretch.  Have an achey joint? Leg? Back?  Stretch.

There is some discussion about when the best time is to stretch.  Personally, I don't like to stretch cold muscles.  Typically I warm up for a few minutes and then stretch before working out.  But sometimes I work out and then spend several minutes focusing on flexibility across all muscle groups.  There probably is some science as to when to do it.  Do be cautious about stretching cold muscles, but make sure to make flexibility and mobility a regular part of your workout routine.

I also use a foam roller to help with flexibility/mobility and muscle soreness.  The foam roller is amazing.  I'll talk about that some more in another post.

I love this stretch.  It opens my hips up so they are not tight.

Questions for you...(Answer in the comment section below.)
Do you stretch?  Before, during or after a workout?  How much time do you spend stretching?

Are you up to speed on my series on wellness?  Check it out!
With Us
Worthwhile or Gimmick?
Three Years, Really?

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