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Flexibility and Fitness Go Hand in Hand
To become more flexible and feel the benefits of it we need to stretch! Flexibility and fitness would seem to be synonymous but this is not necessarily so. To be flexible we need to s-t-r-e-t-c-h and when we can stretch we will feel and be fitter!
Stretching can be done anywhere, at any time - at your desk, in the kitchen, in bed even.
Flexibility decreases as we age and with inactivity, increasing susceptibility to minor injuries, back problems, and general discomfort, and so the cycle continues leading to even less activity and ultimately reduced mobility.
If you go to the gym, whatever level you are working at you usually start with some gentle stretches, and likewise when you've completed your routine you finish with some more. Stretching helps maintain flexibility in joints and muscles.
However, even if you don't do any other specific form of exercise you will feel the benefit of the best stretching routines to keep your body flexible. Who wants to shuffle along rather than walk upright with fluidity, with poise? Flexibility stretches will help you to stay moving and looking younger, longer and contribute to your healthy lifestyle!
It takes strength and flexibility to hold a pose like this and whilst we probably don't all feel the need to reach this level it is definitely something to aim for! Yoga and Pilates are both great forms of exercise for flexibility and strength, while Tai Chi can improve balance, coordination and relaxation.
Can you put your knickers on while standing up? Or do you stagger around and sit down?
I bet this sounds familiar to some of you - well it might seem a daft question but this simple act we all do everyday requires flexibility, balance and coordination - how do you shape up? Lack of flexibility affects us practically in many ways, bending to pick up packages, reaching up for high things, twisting around when reversing the car are just a few examples.
Whatever your age you can improve your flexibility, it may be harder work as we get older to achieve this, and also require greater care so we don't injure ourselves. Being flexible in one part of the body doesn't mean that you will be flexible in another so we are aiming for general flexibility throughout the body. Are you ready to start stretching yet?
So what are we stretching? The muscles of the neck and shoulders, down to the lower back and hips, thighs, calves, ankles and feet, right into your toes. Don't rush it, feel the tension but not pain, relax into the stretch and breathe - enjoy the experience! Remember - flexibility and fitness - we don't want to tear muscles or tissue and end up in pain.
When should we stretch? If you are already following an exercise and fitness program, then stretch when you exercise. Otherwise 3 times a week is fine but every day is better! You will feel the benefits quicker the more frequently you stretch.
How should we stretch? Warm up the muscles and joints with some gentle activity before starting and then work through the body paying special attention to areas of tightness.
This video from the Stretching Institute reinforces the concept and importance of flexibility and fitness
Stretching to achieve flexibility and fitness is a positive step towards living your healthy lifestyle. Start stretching now, do it safely and within your limits, it isn't supposed to be painful. If you feel more than a little discomfort or tension then you are going to far. Come on, lets start stretching!
The information provided on this website is for reference purposes only. It is not intended as medical or professional advice.
Welcome! I'm Tiffany - fifty something midlifer - 20 years experience! This site is packed with advice and information to help you get the most out of life by becoming, healthier, fitter, happier and ultimately taking you to a more satisfying future. C'mon, let's do it together!