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
-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:
- 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.
- 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