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Let’s Get Flexible by Dr. Randy

By at February 17, 2012 | 1:09 pm | Print

Let’s Get Flexible by Dr. Randy

The importance of flexibility is often left out of the discussion about living a healthy lifestyle. Some individuals don’t think flexibility should be “trained” like cardiovascular endurance or strength. Therefore, flexibility training is often left out of a workout regime or it is the quick stretching down before a “real” work out entailing running and lifting. While flexibility can improve with “regular” training it is important to take the time to stretch and work on flexibility. This type of training has been shown to improve posture, reduce lower back pain, increase relaxation, release muscle tension and reduce the risk for injuries.

Many things influence an individual’s flexibility, some of them you cannot control – genetics, gender and age – while others you can – physical activity and body weight. The less active you are, the less flexible you are likely to be. Time constraints keep many people from stretching. Ideally, you should stretch at least a half hour, three times per week. Many people think that they could spend their time doing something more productive during those 30 minutes. I would ask that you do something more than you are doing now. Just 5 minutes is better than nothing. Try to stretch right before you go to bed or after you wake up.

Some general guidelines to performing static (stretch and hold) stretches are: gently stretch to a point of tension, hold for 30 seconds, 3 repetitions per muscle, don’t bounce, warm up and don’t hold your breath. You will be amazed on how relaxed you are after completing a full body stretching routine.

Personally, I have incorporated stretching into my daily routine by doing what I mentioned above, stretching before going to bed. I use to have some lower back problems, tight hamstrings and trouble falling asleep. For the last 7 years I stretch for about 10 minutes before I climb into bed, it relaxes both physically and mentally. It is some much a part of my routine if I don’t do it I cannot fall asleep, it is like forgetting to brush my teeth. Try it out and make it part of your day.

Make the most of the day you are given.

Randall J. Bergman, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation
Missouri Western State University
Office – 816-271-4474

 

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