Health is Wealth, Wellness Wednesday

Breathe, Stretch, Shake, Let It Go

Friends. Family. People who have stumbled upon my blog randomly. WellfieWednesday-ers. I am sorry. I have been so out of it lately trying to figure out my schedule for, well, L I F E. I have let my work on updating my website fall and also the quality of my writing. I wrote this last week for the WellfieWednesday home blog with my #WellfieCrew but it completely lacked my normal flair and thus I did not bother to post it to my own website. But we all go through funks, right? Hell yes we do. As summer is winding down and the introduction of having to fit in grad school while maintaining a freelancepreneur life has been getting stressful and I haven’t even started classes! Why am I overthinking the future of something I can’t really comprehend without experiencing it?? Someone help remove this trait from my life, where did my carefree days of Italy go? Come back please. Sidebar: when does summer actually end anyway? #summerforever is my new mentality, can it just become reality please?

Anyway, let me get down to business: S T R E T C H I N G

Most people associate stretching with yoga or gymnastics, but it’s this misconception that gets people confused. Many people don’t seem to understand that stretching should be part of your daily routine, or at least part of your exercise routine.

Most people spend the majority of their day sitting (in chairs, in the car, on a train, etc.) and thus end up with tight hamstrings. Slowly over time this can lead to reducing your overall range of motion because as these muscles tighten they’re actually becoming shorter and it becomes harder to extend your leg fully to a straight position. Regularly stretching can help prevent this! Stretching keeps muscles flexible, strong, and healthy – which all aid in maintaining proper range of motion for your joints. (Harvard Health Letter)

That’s not the only place you might start to notice issues if you’re not stretching. Say you’re a working on your gym gains, lifting a lot, but not stretching at all. Over time that cumulative weight you’re lifting will cause a similar reaction of tightening and shortening in your muscles. See a pattern? Stretching isn’t just for yoga or for those that do sports that are demanding of flexibility, it’s for everyone – the average desk worker, bodybuilders, runners, any sport, you name it – if you have a body, you should be stretching!

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This is from about a month into going to The Bar Method regularly, during a 6am class when Kaitlin (my instructor) told me to just try going for a full split and I almost got there! Woooo the power of persistence and also 6am when you don’t know what’s happening. (Photo)

I don’t stretch nearly as much now (and certainly cannot comfortable attempt a split anymore) but having gone to a class that focuses on technique really showed me that there is a MAJOR difference in just shifting the position of your pelvis. So many female STICK THEIR BUTTS OUT when they are stretching – STAHP IT – no one is looking at your booty in the gym, we are all too preoccupied with ourselves to really pay attention to anyone else. Tuck your dang butt when you stretch, feel the intensity of the stretch change, you will be amazed at the difference in trying to stretch out your quads when you have anterior vs posterior pelvic tilt going on.

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I did not have time to take these photos myself so here is an excellent example of correct form (left) and incorrect form (right) from @PaperExploits

So, when is the best time to stretch? After you’ve warmed up your muscles. Can you imagine trying to bend a noodle before it’s been cooked? No, it would snap in half. Stretching isn’t just going to work it’s magic overnight, for those that suffer from shortening hamstrings (ie everyone…) can start by incorporating a bit of stretching into your daily routine, slowly work your way to being able to touch your toes but do not force it. And once you gain that flexibility, don’t stop! Your body will revert because muscles adapt to what you use them for, you can’t just expect your body to stay flexible once you get there.

If you need some assistance in stretching, check out my previous post about trigger points and lacrosse balls! Also coming soon is a post on Rolfing Structural Integration (myofascial work)!

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