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Week Eleven: Stretching

A lot of people don't realize that the guidelines for physical activity do not just involve aerobic and strength training. The guidelines for physical activity also address the requirement and need for flexibility training. There is a few other things when it comes to stretching that people may not be aware of. Remember how we always stretched before activity in Gym class? Turns out that we shouldn't be stretching cold muscles! Also, it is important to not bounce into your stretch or stretch the point of any pain. To stretch properly, slowly lean into the stretch and hold for 20-30 seconds, before the point of pain but while there is muscle tension.

There are quite a few benefits to stretching as well. It decreases muscle tension while increasing muscle relaxation. Stretching also decreases your risk of injury and allows your joints to have a full range of motion. It also is known to help lower stress, not just physical stress on the body but mentally as well. Lastly, when muscles aren't being stretched, they begin to shorten over time making them weak and tight. This can affect everything from our range of motion during activities to even how our body sits during periods of rest. The act of stretching allows the the muscles to continue to be flexible and usable without tightening. Think of an old rubber band. Once it sits for a long time and gets hard, it loses all elasticity and snaps easily!

To begin a stretching regime, you can talk to a physical therapist to help create a personal stretching program or you can look into stretching options for your body type including using YouTube videos. This weeks challenge is to find a stretching routine that would fit your needs and try and incorporate into your daily life. It is amazing what 10 minutes of stretching can do for you! If 10 minutes seems too much at once, you can even break down the stretching and do a few minutes in the morning and a nightly stretch as well. I hope this weeks challenge gets you thinking and allows you to grow in a practice you don't normally participate in. As always, until next week my friends! Blessed Be!


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