Flexibility Training for Your Health

Flexibility training is an important part of a complete fitness routine, along with cardiovascular and strength training. A recent study found that stretching can improve blood flow, lower blood pressure and decrease stiffness in arteries. This could translate to a lower risk of heart attack and stroke.

Flexibility training, like stretching or yoga, has so many other benefits:

-Reduces muscle tension

-Decreases risk of injury

-Improves ability to complete ADLs

-Alleviates pain

-Reduces stress

-Accelerates recovery after workouts

Add stretching after workouts, or at the end of the day when muscles are warm. Never stretch a cold muscle! Hold stretches for 10-30 seconds, while you take deep, relaxing breathes. Stretches should feel good, never painful.

Try this seated stretching routine:

Upper Body

  • Crescent stretch to each side.
  • Tricep stretch behind head.
  • Shoulder stretch across chest.
  • Clasp hands overhead for arms and shoulders.
  • Clasp hands behind head for chest stretch.
  • Round forward for upper back stretch.
  • Turn Neck to each side.
  • Seated twist.

Lower Body

  • Knee into chest.
  • Knee across body.
  • Hamstring extension out in front.
  • Quad stretch back behind.
  • Hip stretch, ankle on knee.
  • Forward fold Standing L stretch.

Flexibility training, like this seated stretching routine, done daily, will help make you feel more comfortable in your own skin and improve your physical and mental health. Give it a try midday or before you catch some zzzs.

by Christy Coughlin