Raw Pleasure and Pure Joy: 12 Top Lifestyle Recommendations for 2010... Stretching Your Way to Success

Date: February 3, 2010 Author: Mary Luciano Categories: Raw Training and Fitness
Are you one of those people who believe that they have no time to stretch in the day? Are you always rushing out of a fitness class before the cooling down exercises are complete? Before I start telling you the many ways that you can incorporate stretching into your daily routine, let me explain why it is important to stretch on a regular basis. When we sit all day at the computer or don't exercise regularly, our muscles tend to become tight and stiff over time not only from the static motion, but also from the repetitive action as well. When we stretch our muscles and joints, they have the ability to extend through their normal range of motion and allow the muscle to return to normal resting lengths. Although flexibility is determined by one's genetic make up, gender, age, and level of physical activity, our lack of flexibility as we age is mostly due to inactivity rather than the aging process itself. The following are several benefits you will reap by incorporating a regular stretching program into your daily life.

-Greater freedom of movement and improved posture
-Increased physical and mental relaxation
-Release of muscle tension and soreness
-Reduced risk of injury
-Promotion of body awareness
-Enhanced performance
-Feeling great

Did you know that ideally you should spend at least 30 minutes, three times per week on stretching? With today's overstuffed schedules many of you are likely asking "how can I fit it in"? Think about the following:

-Yoga, even once a week, helps loosen muscle tension and stiffness
-Pilates strengthen as well as lengthen - try it even once a week
-Tai Chi will help you feel more calm and centered
-Schedule a Tai massage appointment
-Go to a simple stretching class at your local gym

If going to classes are not your thing, you can try these tips daily instead:

-Stretch either during or after a shower, hot bath or sauna
-Stretch while still in bed (simple hands over head and pointed toes can help limber you up)
-Stretch in-between your weight training exercises
-Stretch while standing in line at your local grocery store
-Do partner stretching, where you help each other move the body into stretching positions (caution - don't overstretch your partner)
-Purchasing a stretching DVD for home stretching

Hopefully, you can fit stretching into your daily routine and give any one of these suggestions a try. When performing any stretches make sure to...

-Start slow
-Hold the stretch, do not bounce
-Hold each stretch for at least 10 to 30 seconds
-Stretch just enough, stretching should not be painful

Limbering up and becoming flexible does pay off. Remember to stay tuned as we dive further into the benefits of the 12 Top Lifestyle Recommendations for 2010.


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