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  1. Stretching and It’s Importance

    Stretching and the Importance of It as We Age                        
    By Melanie Polasek, CPT                        

    Most people who exercise spend the majority of that time burning calories and strength building. (Getting stronger or bulking up).  They often do not take minimal time to stretch afterwards.  Flexibility is often the most neglected component of fitness.  Studies have shown how important stretching is, and even much more so, as we age.  As the muscles are stretched, they lengthen and increase in range of motion.  This will keep you young and feeling good.

    In the past, it was shown that that static stretching (stretch & hold) before exercise would decrease injury, prevent post-exercise soreness and improve exercise performance.  But today, research shows is there is no evidence of such benefits.  Today, the preferred way of warming up for any physical activity is through dynamic (active) movement, instead of static stretching.  It is best to save the static stretching for the end of your workout, once the muscles are warm and more receptive to the stretch.

    Types of stretches:

    • Static stretching:  the most popular form – gradually stretch your muscle or muscle group until you feel mild tension (never to the point of pain) and hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds.   (Never force a stretch or bounce in the stretch).   This type of stretch is good after any physical activity.
    • Dynamic stretching:  A continual, controlled movement through a full range of motion like leg swings or lunges.   This is good to use for warming up.
    • Ballistic stretching:  Bouncing with repetitive movement to take the stretch beyond its normal range of motion.  (This type of stretching not recommended the average exerciser, as it can place too much tension and trauma on the muscle being stretched and its connective tissue.)

    So why stretch:

    1. Improves flexibility by helping your joints move through their full range of motion
    2. Helps reduce low-back discomfort
    3. Improves posture and balance
    4.  Stretching the back and shoulders will help prevent a slouching back
    5. Improves circulation by increasing the blood supply to muscles and joints
    6. Stretching keeps the muscles more supple and assists in lengthening the muscles
    7. A good stress reliever, which helps develop mental and physical relaxation
    8. It just feels good too

     

    Source:  Sally Anderson/Tampa Bay Times Thursday/Jan 12, 2012 Caller Times

    Read more:  http://www.peakhealthadvocate.com/753/stretching-shown-to-improve-heart-health/

     

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