Learning How to Stretch
Very recently, I’ve been getting lower back spasms. It doesn’t happen all the time, just sometimes at work when I’m sitting. It’s particularly worrying to me because those kind of things don’t really happen to me. Sure I’ll hurt myself doing something, but I don’t get chronic pain or ongoing behind-the-scenes stuff. Because it was so concerning to me, I wanted to get to the bottom of it immediately before anything got worse. So I got to thinking…what could of caused this? I looked up symptoms, treatments, causes…tight hamstrings, lack of strong core, poor posture. I then thought through my lifestyle lately, and realized I haven’t really stretched or done yoga in about 6 months. Yikes.
So guess what! I’m learning how to stretch. Again. Life is never a straight line: always back and forth, up and down–unpredictable. So sometimes, even when you are a professional trainer, you have to go back to the beginning and take baby steps. Instead of working on my push-ups or my squats, I’m going to do a focus on my stretching.
What does that mean exactly? It means…
- Morning stretching. You know that feeling of incredible stiffness in the morning? Well, there is a real easy way to combat that. As soon as you get out of bed, have a glass of water, and start to stretch. Do some gentle back twists and reach for your toes. Hug your knees to your chest and roll around a little bit. Get loose. End with a short meditation.
- Stretching after running or hiking. This is a big one. Man, looking back on it, I am so bad at stretching. I would never stretch after a run or a good long hike. What a dis-service I am doing to my body! So, I vow to stretch after each run and each hike for at least five minutes. This is important for my body.
- Night stretching. Do you know what stress can do to your body? Try a lot of tension. Doing stretches similar to what you did in the morning can really help this. However, since your body has been awake for a while, you can go a little deeper and push in your stretches.
- Stretching after muscle workouts. Another one I’m terrible at and especially so. While not necessary to stretch before a muscle workout, stretching afterwards helps those tired muscles! They have been worked hard, contracted and built, so take the time to unwind them.
All of these stretches will help you in every area of fitness. Stretching is such a big part of fitness but it’s the easiest one to ignore and I sure did. Pairing stretching with yoga is also a wonderful idea. My body is calling me out, giving me spasms and worse, and this time, I will listen! No more pure strength, I’m going to take an ear to my body and focus on stretching and healing. I might even do a 30-day yoga program as well. Anyone have any suggestions? Please comment below! And as always, stay hungry and fit!
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