Joint & Muscle Freedom

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been flexible. 

Karen may disagree, but I’m talking about my muscles, not my disposition.

Even as far back as grade school, when we used to do stretch tests, I was top of the class. 

Touch your toes, reach as far as you can on a specially designed “box,” you name it.

But when it comes to pre- and post- exercise routines, stretching was never big on my list. 

I’ve seen mixed reviews of it. It’s somewhat boring. And if I have the wherewithal to actually get ready to work out, I just want to get to it. 

And as it turns out, I’m missing out on some benefits by not being flexible about stretching.

For one, and this is important, particularly as we get older, stretching before exercise reduces your risk of injury. There really is a benefit to loosening up.

Makes you wonder why all the ballplayers with strained hamstrings aren’t stretching enough. You’d think they would, right? 

Stretching also improves your range of motion, which can slow down the wear and tear of your joints. Especially joints like shoulders, knees, ankles and elbows, which bear the brunt of almost all we ask of our bodies. 

A good stretch is also a boost to your circulation. Getting blood to muscles and joints is always good, and a slow easing into your routine will get you primed for exercise, whether that’s a walk around the block, or something more intense.

Finally, stretching after exercise can actually help ease joint and muscle aches. A slow and careful few minutes of stretching is a nice cool down, and it reduces the tightening effect that happens after workouts. This will keep you from experiencing that next day soreness, or at least cut it back a bit.

I’m dedicating myself to working some stretching into my routine, and you should probably give it a go too. 

It will help you stay flexible. Increase your balance and mobility. And make workouts a little less of a pain.

Sounds like a good combination to me.

And that’s not a stretch. 

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