Friday, July 17, 2015

Should you stretch if you don't feel sore or tense?

Question For Penny: 
I know I’m supposed to stretch after my workouts. I understand that. And I hear I’m supposed to stretch even if I don’t workout. But if I’m not sore, can I just skip it? 

All your regular “daily” routine such as running around doing errands, prolonged sitting, sleeping funny, repetitive movements such as tensing your shoulders when texting or when using a computer keyboard, etc., puts a lot of stress on the body whether you know it or not. 

Don’t wait till you feel sore or feel any other discomfort before you desperately attempt to reverse the effects. It could be too late by then. In the long term (if not the short), your body is going to talk back and stop taking all the abuse. And trust me, you will FEEL it!! So don’t take your body's resilience for granted — don’t keep taking without giving back. Care for it fairly if you want it to perform well for you. 

In addition to us demanding so much from our bodies, to be fair, we should find ways to give back through healthy lifestyle habits such as sound nutrition, meditation, deep breathing, exercise and STRETCH! It’s so important to relax your tense muscles and maintain their healthy range of motion. 

And on top of that, if you workout or like to stay active, don’t even think about skipping stretching. There is NO room for compromise here. You must maintain flexibility for ease of movement and less stress in your daily life, whether you workout or not.

I have to credit the strength of my body to the fact that I stretch. I wouldn't be able to perform as well if I were to focus on strength training and cardio without also including my stretches. There has to be a balance, like most things in life.

Here, I’ve put together a simple sequence of stretches you can perform everyday at home or after your workouts to nurture all your major muscles, release tension (especially in your back) and recover from soreness. I've added modifications to these moves so that no matter how old, how new or how advance you are, you will enjoy them and will want to do them regularly — especially when you start to feel improvements in your daily movements and notice less tension or pain in your body. Happy stretching! :)