The human body is a modern miracle with the ability to move massive amounts of weight in multiple directions with simple levers. But if the human body is such a perfect creation, then why are so many of our bodies failing us? The short answer is that we are not maintaining ourselves. Just like a car, your body needs to be maintained. Your car requires regular tune-ups to keep functioning smoothly. That goes double for your body, mainly because in many ways, your body works harder than your car. The easiest way to maintain your body is to stretch. We have all heard it before, but stretching is the single greatest thing you can do for your body. Yes, eating pure and working out are also very good, but being flexible allows your muscles to work correctly and reduces your daily aches and pain. Proper stretching gives you more energy to work out and to be active.
Lifting weights is mostly a matter of physics. Our body is a system of levers. When those levers are positioned correctly, they have as much mechanical advantage as possible when moving weights. As the levers move, they will become tired. The surrounding muscles will become tight, thus putting strain on the levers. This strain will become painful if the muscles around the lever are not relaxed. The best way to relax these strained and tried muscles is to stretch them.
Three main areas to stretch every day are:
Those three stretches will target the muscles most overused on a daily basis. Granted, if you’re training other muscles, you must also stretch those muscles as well. But every day -- regardless if you train or not – it is beneficial to stretch these three muscles groups.
Stretching may take a back seat when it comes to exercise programs, but it should be in the driver’s seat. Stretching has greater benefits then you may realize. It can and will improve athletic performance, will decrease the risk of injury, and will reduce daily aches and pains. For instance, imagine that your Achilles tendon is tight and lacks the needed flexibility to correctly work the ankle. If you happen to walk hills or the stadium stairs during an OSU game, your foot will not move through a correct and complete range of motion. Over time, the risk of tendinitis and injury to the ankle and foot can increase.
Before you plunge into a stretching exercise, make sure you do it safely and effectively. While you can stretch anyplace – in your home, at work, park, or hotel – remember that stretching is a form of exercise. And as an exercise “form” it is important that it is executed correctly. More harm than good can be done if performed incorrectly. I suggest you consider speaking with a fitness professional on correct stretching protocols or log onto Quorum website for updates and videos.