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Fitness:  Flexibility and Stretching Exercises

Stretch safely Flexibility is one of the core exercises that make up a total body workout. Unfortunately, it is often overshadowed by exercises dedicated to muscular strength and weight loss because of the latter’s more visible benefits. Nevertheless, focus should still be given to flexibility exercises as it yields a number of advantages to people who perform them regularly.

Benefits of Flexibility Exercises

  • Better Posture – Like muscle training, flexibility exercises can also help your body maintain god posture since stretching your muscles will ensure that they’re properly aligned.
  • Move Faster and Better – Flexibility exercises can also readily improve your body’s performance and complement whatever benefits your body has gained from aerobics and muscle training.
  • Lessened Physical Injury – Just like other exercises, flexibility can significantly reduce the chances and the seriousness of suffering from physical injuries. Lessen the chances of having strained or sore muscles

Warming Up and Cooling Down
These two exercises should always be part of any exercise workout you’re following.

Warm Up – This form of exercises effectively relaxes muscles and consequently makes your workout easier to accomplish and obtain quicker results. It also prepares your body by making sure that all of the important functions – circulation of blood, breathing, and nerve transmission – will adjust effortlessly to whatever workout you have in mind.

Cool Down – At the end of your workout, you will once again have to relax your muscles through stretching. Cooling down exercises can also make you feel less dizzy or nauseous after a demanding workout. It also allows all important body functions to resume a normal state in a gradual process.

Take It Seriously – Flexibility is just as important as any other exercise so prepare your body the way you would before doing aerobics, weights, or even belly dancing. Allocate the required time and effort for flexibility exercises.

Don’t Push Yourself! – Many make the mistake of going for the gold at their first attempt of stretching. If you’re new to this, start from the beginning instead of skipping levels to avoid injuring yourself.

Stronger body Combine It with Mental Exercises – Your body will be more receptive to flexibility exercises if you’re able to relax your mind as well. As such, a good warming up to flexibility exercises would be spending a few minutes meditating or visualizing in silence.

Men can be resistant to the idea of flexibility exercises. Be advised that the greatest athletes of the world can easily vouch for the necessity of stretching.

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Stretching Exercises at Work and Traveling

Lack the time to exercise because of your very busy schedule? Don’t have the right equipment? New in the area and still don’t know where you can go for a quick workout at the gym? Don’t fret! You can still do some stretching exercises even while you’re traveling to and from work or at work. These exercises can also work while traveling away from home.

  • Arm Stretch. This is easy to do even while sitting in front of your computer. Raise your arm above your head and elbow bent. With the opposite hand, hold the elbow and give a slow pull. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite arm.
  • Squat Press. Stand away from your desk with legs apart. Raise and lower your body slowly while your heels are stable on the floor. This is to keep your legs and low back tight. Do a few sets of 20.
  • Calf Raises. Raise heels off the ground and hold for 2 seconds. Lower both heels for 2 seconds. Do sets of 20 for your claves.
  • Waist Bends. While standing, bend your waist with arms dangling. Hold for 30 seconds and do on both sides. Repeat procedure several times.
  • Seated Twist. To make your back and hip flexible especially when you have to sit on your chair for hours on end, and follow the following easy steps. Sit tall in your chair and place the right hand on the outer part of the left knee. Slowly twist your waist to the left with your body initiating the twist. Do slow, deep breathing while doing the stretch. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with the other direction. You may even hold on to the back of the chair to give a better stretch.
  • Hamstring stretch. Lie on the floor with one knee bent and the other stretched above. Hold a towel at the sole of your upper foot and pull the leg toward your chest. Do this slowly with sets of 10 for each leg.
  • Neck Stretch. This is a good way to relieve a stiff neck or a headache while traveling. It’s as simple as tucking in your chin with your head tall like in military attention. Hold the position for 10 seconds and repeat several times.
  • Backward bending. This is perfect when taking that stopover during a long drive. Stand with your feet apart and hands on the hips. Lean back as far as you can go without tilting your head back. Hold this position for a few seconds and repeat several times.
  • Chest and Shoulder Stretch. Clasp hands together at the small of your back with your arms straight. Now move your arms slowly away from your back, going up as far as possible. Hold the position for 6 seconds and repeat the same procedure several times.

Additional tips. Make it a habit to move around every 30-45 minutes. This is to allow the oxygen to circulate around the body especially to areas deprived of oxygen when sitting for long periods of time. Take short, frequent breaks by taking brisk walks and taking sips of water.

Stretching regularly will actually help you feel more energized the whole day because of the increased oxygen in your system.

Stay Young: Calisthenics and Stretching For the Elderly
Our health does not only depend on the food we eat, it is also dependent on our movements. Without actions, our body would deteriorate and die. Bodily actions maintain the blood flow, food digestion, etc. Just think about people who get bed ridden for a long time, they grow pale and several complications arise to their bodies.

Muscles must move continuously to maintain healthy and efficient. When you don’t use your muscles they lose the ability to contract and they become weak. This explains the muscle pain we are experiencing when we are subjected to rigorous physical activities after a long time of rest. Controlled exercises such as stretching and calisthenics are needed to remove muscle tightness and pain.

Stretching can be dynamic (involves motion) or static.

Older groups have special needs especially those with illness, inactive lifestyle, chronic disorders and frail bones. The program has certain limitations but needs to be purposive of attaining a well-restored and rehabilitated health among oldies.

There are certain methods of stretching for elderly and it all depends on how strong the muscles are and how long can they stay in a stretched position. Flexibility can only be improved if you can improve and strengthen your muscles. If soreness of muscles, pain and weakness occurs, stretching should be stopped.

  1. If you are confused of what exercise to do at your age, ask the advice of your doctor. This will avoid accidents or over exertion. Ask a qualified instructor to assist you. He should let you know the do’s and don’t in these physical activities.
  2. Take it easy; exercise gradually and rest from time to time. Over exertion can be harmful and can result to nausea, chest pains, dizziness and inability to talk. Call your physician once you experienced these warning signs.
  3. Sustain your exercises. When you feel minor muscle pain, do not stop your work out. The pain will subside after some time.
  4. To prevent muscle injury or heart strain, do some five-minute warm-ups before stretching or engaging in calisthenics.

Your looks are highly dependent on your lifestyle. Staying fit through exercises such as stretching and calisthenics can let you look younger than your normal age. A study in Utah revealed that active elderly had lower palpitation during their exercises. They also have higher uptake of oxygen during maximum exercises and slower palpitations after the exercise. Being old doesn’t mean inactivity and idleness of the body. Elders can condition their bodies by eating right foods and having proper exercise.

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