any times when you find yourself tight, or sore or in pain, the simple truth is that you’re not stretching enough before exercising.
The way to add a good stretch to your life is the find the time to perform the basics. Static stretching (sit, reach, hold) is the key for post workout stretching. People can use the time they spend on the couch at night with a stretching routine on the floor. Sit on the floor in front of the couch and reach for your toes for 20 seconds, then relax for a minute and repeat. This can be done with your shoulders by reaching across your body and holding, and the back by pulling across your mid section and holding.
The best way to warm up before an athletic event or a recreational walk is to perform dynamic stretching (controlled slow moving range of motions stretching). Dynamic stretching can be done for a few minutes prior to your event. During these stretches you allow the joints to release what is called synovial fluid. This aids in the lubrication of your joints, making for a much easier range of motions and better exercise.
Joining a stretching class is a great way to guard against muscle pain. There are many different forms of range-of-motion type classes. You’ve probably know about Pilates and yoga, but there are many more. A fundamental goal of yoga practice is to remove labels, to free oneself from boxes and categorization in order to attain a state of samadhi or nothingness. In our modern era, new categories of yoga pop up every day.
For campus recreation at the University of Windsor, I teach power yoga and Yoga 101. The style of my yoga is referred to as the integral method, which seeks to integrate the mind, body and spirit. If you join the power yoga sessions, don’t be surprised if you find yourself learning about the chakras (centres of energy within the body), while detoxifying your body through vinyasa sequences or the alignment of movement and breath. In Yoga 101, we may do breath work and meditation one day, yoga-against-the-wall another, and develop different styles of Sun Salutations over the course of a 10-week session.
Whether you choose to join a class or simply add stretching to your life, take your time and enjoy it. The benefits of stretching is pain-free living.