First of all, that there have been many studies conducted concerning stretching. I have been witnessing the benefits of stretching in the thousands of hours spent with clients and classes I have been working with over the last 15 years. These experiences have enabled me to develop my own theories about the benefits of stretching. To my knowledge, I am a certain that the stretching is a necessary inclusion during the process of aging.
other words, once you warm up for the exercise, you are ready to go. However, it is critical that you stretch afterwards – once the exercise is completed – to realign the tissue. And although the duration of each stretch is often stated 20 seconds if it is a static (held in one position without movement) stretch, I ALWAYS have clients stretch 30 seconds. (Ballistic stretching, or bouncing stretching is never advised unless under specific supervision.)
The principle behind stretching is to re-align the muscle tissue that you have engaged during your exercise or activity. Understand that with exercise comes the constant contraction of muscle tissue throughout the activity. In order for that tissue to maintain its flexibility, it is of the utmost importance that you stretch it back into its alignment with all the muscle fibers that have been compromised. But, what I have encountered is a client who played tennis in his youth and because he never stretched afterwards, he can not straighten his knees – literally, which leads to strain on the lower back, a tilted pelvis, shortness in height and a multitude of other problems and pains. Since
Something else that works exceptionally well is to stretch after working a specific body part. In other words, when you have done your upper back strengthening, stretch the upper back right away. When you have worked your biceps, stretch your biceps right away. By stretching right away, you help the exhausted muscle tissue to go back to where it belongs so that knots and strains do not get aggravated. And, again, hold each stretch for 30 seconds. The only time that I don’t push stretching right away is when working the legs. We work all the leg exercises and then do all the leg stretches.
I work with people over 45, I get the results of their bad habits! Trying to fix the problem at this stage is not impossible, but not easy for him in the diligence to which he will have to adhere for years to come to offset the damage done. That is why stretching is so important – the damage done will show up years later and be much more difficult to deal with.
When you are in the middle of a stretch, try very hard NOT to simply watch the clock tick out the 30 seconds. Rather, close your eyes and breathe. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Breathe deeply. Allow your body to relax into the stretch – all the muscle tissue will be much more inclined to let go if you are more relaxed and long deep breaths will do that. Besides, you only need 3 – 4 deep breaths to complete a stretch!!
Studies have shown that stretching before exercise really does not offset injury during the exercise itself. In
Stretching is not just to follow exercise, though that is typically what it is used for. If you are a handcrafter
Vol 3 Iss 5 - September 2015