When Should I Stretch?

Q) When should I stretch?

A) Assuming you’re the standard American who sits too much, doesn’t exercise enough, has increasingly poor posture and is resistant to the Body Systems diet and lifestyle, I would go out on a limb and say not only do you have to stretch every day, but more importantly, you need to move every day.

You know the term “use it or lose it”, well that certainly applies to stretching and maintaining beneficial muscle range of motion (ROM). As humans, we are physically equipped to move through numerous “primal movements” to ensure our ability to function and survive on a daily basis. This means getting up from the floor, lifting heavy objects and even climbing trees to collect food. These movements include squatting, walking, lunging, bending, twisting, pushing and pulling.

Seen any babies lately? As humans, we are born with absurd amounts of flexibility that we don’t have to work-on, but simply have to maintain by performing daily primal movements. Unfortunately, because of modern culture, we move less, sit more, get weak and brittle and therefore, lose the ability to simply move efficiently.

If you’re not moving on a daily basis, consider:

Incorporating a strength training routine implementing the aforementioned primal movements. This will help improve posture by strengthening long-weak muscles and stretching short-tight muscles.

Go join a yoga class: This will literally force you to practice stretching through new ranges of motion in addition to helping you learn to breathe efficiently while minimizing the stress on the body. Start slow and find an instructor that is able to modify exercises to your abilities.

Learn some stretches to do daily at home: This can be a great way to both start and end the day to increase blood flow, energize the body, relax the mind, and correct imbalances created during the day. Utilize the Body Systems personalized on-line training program to address your stretching needs.

Assess your lifestyle and whether your activity, or lack there of, is helping or hindering your physical health. Stretching could be the first step on your road to recovery!

If you already exercise and need some more specific direction, purchase the book: Stretch to Win. This will surely give you all that you need to design an effective daily and/or sport-specific routine.