A to Z Challenge 2016

‘S’ is for Stretching – The Importance of being flexible especially in midlife

April 22, 2016
Stretching

benefits of stretching

Are you sitting down while reading this?  Okay, stand up and gently raise your arms up and S-T-R-E-T-C-H!  Feels good doesn’t it?

Did you know that ‘sitting is the new smoking’?  Meaning it can be just as damaging to our health to sit for long periods of time as it is to smoke!

Society has changed and we are leading a more sedentary lifestyle.  We sit for long periods of time, usually hunched over a desk.  This can play havoc with our body, especially our lower back.

We spend so much time ensuring that we are eating healthy foods and exercise regularly, but we tend to forget about Stretching.  Stretching is such an important part of our exercise program but most of us don’t give it the respect it deserves.

A quick 5 minute stretch is not enough.   A complete exercise program should include at least 15 – 20 minutes of stretching after exercise, with the addition of a one hour yoga or pilates session each week.

Why Stretch?

Stretching not only provides flexibility but it also increases our core strength.  It reduces the risk of injury and also reduces lower back pain.  I have suffered from lower back pain for years but recently did a 30 day challenge of Stretching every day.  My back is no longer painful and I feel great – I even managed to touch my toes two weeks into the challenge!

Harvard medical school Healthbeat suggests:

‘Weak back and abdominal muscles can cause or worsen low back pain. That’s why stretching and strengthening your back and abdominal muscles are important not only for treating low back pain, but also for helping to prevent a recurrence of the problem.’

The importance of stretching as we age

benefits of stretching in midlife

It is a pity that some of us don’t recognise the importance of stretching but it is NEVER TOO LATE TO START!

As we age it is even more important to include stretching into our regular exercise and daily life.  Our joints can become less flexible as we age which will affect our mobility and our balance.

When you Should Stretch?

Stretching is usually done when the muscles are warm after exercise.  Take it gently and STOP if you feel any pain.

Benefits of stretching

Stretching is not just good for your body but as we have seen with exercise it is great for our mental health.

Physically

  • Increased Flexibility
  • Improved Posture
  • Reduces Lower Back Pain
  • Helps prevent loss of mobility as we age
  • Reduces the risk of Injury
  • Reduces stress on muscles used in exercise –

Mentally

  • Brings sense of calm
  • Brings clarity and focus through controlled breathing
  • Decreases stress and tension
  • Increases energy

Try my 30 days to a More Flexible You Challenge. You will be surprised how much your flexibility improves and your body feels stronger.

Here are my 12 Daily Stretches to Improve Flexibility  they aren’t that difficult to do and if you try them everyday you will notice an improvement in 7 days I know I did.

START TODAY YOU WON’T REGRET IT!

#atozchallenge

Join me tomorrow for ‘T’ is for Time – How to get more out of your day.

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10 Comments

  • Reply Kala Ravi April 22, 2016 at 18:51

    Yes, come May, I have a long to-do list to take up, high priority being ‘ME’! Need to read all your wonderful posts and get in touch with a healthier me. Thanks Sue for the wonderful post…gotta go stretch! 😉
    @KalaRavi16 from
    Relax-N-Rave

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 23, 2016 at 07:34

      That sounds like a plan Kala! I’m looking forward to getting to know you and reading your wonderful interior design poss – they are certainly providing inspiration for me. 🙂 Have a great day!

  • Reply Deepti Agrawal April 22, 2016 at 19:33

    Yes I have started recently with stretching exercise .. And you are right it is never too late.. I was in a turmoil to start or not.. but when i did I do feel a difference..

    http://serendipityofdreams.blogspot.in/2016/04/stung.html

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 23, 2016 at 07:35

      Good for you Deepti! I really found doing the 30 days of stretching improved my flexibility no end. 🙂

  • Reply Jeffrey Scott April 22, 2016 at 20:21

    I can see how easy it would be to overlook stretching. When I go for a jog sometimes, I forget to stretch before hand. Usually, it’s harder for me to finish a 5K if I have not stretched first. I wonder where stretching would place if you were to randomly ask strangers for the top five important things to remember when exercising. Would stretching be in the list? I wonder.

  • Reply Leanne@crestingthehill April 22, 2016 at 20:35

    nothing like a good stretch – especially after you’ve been sitting at a computer for way too long! It’s also the best part of any exercise routine 🙂 Leanne @ cresting the hill

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 23, 2016 at 07:39

      No I love it Leanne I feel great after stretching and the more I do it the more flexible I feel.

  • Reply gigi June 3, 2016 at 18:41

    I always love the cool-down and stretch at the end of a class at the gym. It feels so good!

  • Reply Easy ways to maintain your fitness after 50 February 1, 2017 at 01:03

    […] Never underestimate the importance of stretching.  At the end of each PT session my PT stretches me for 20 minutes.  I also  stretch after running.  If you aren’t sure why you need to stretch read my article ‘S’ is for Stretching – The Importance of being flexible in midlife […]

  • Reply Self-care list week 2 - Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond July 12, 2017 at 01:03

    […] We spend so much time ensuring that we are eating healthy foods and exercise regularly, but we tend to forget about Stretching.  Stretching is such an important part of our exercise program but most of us don’t give it the respect it deserves.  Read more…. […]

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