A Simple Secret to keep your Body Moving

In an ideal world, we would have a good range of motion that allows us to comfortably move through our daily lives. This isn’t always the case though, and for many reasons, we can find ourselves restricted.

Whatever your current situation you can make the most of the movement that you do have by doing something as simple as stretching!  

Benefits of Stretching

  • It helps your posture
  • it helps your everyday movement and enables you to carry out normal tasks without needing help or support.
  • It supports your bones and your muscles and makes sure that you ‘hang’ properly.
  • If you’ve got enough flexibility in your body, then your muscles, joints, ligaments, bones and your overall structure are in alignment, whereas if you don’t have enough flexibility in some areas, that can lead to misalignments.

By stretching your muscles, you improve your flexibility. There are two different kinds of stretching in the main: dynamic and static. Whenever your body is cold and not yet warmed up, for example, when you’re about to start exercising, then you need to be doing dynamic stretches.

Dynamic stretches are slow movements of the joints to warm the muscles up slowly. This could be something like squatting up and down, not as a muscle exercise, but as a way to start some motion. It might be tapping your feet behind you or kicking your legs in front of you. You need to warm up your muscles, which enable you to move your joints, in the same way, you might stretch a cold balloon that you are trying to blow up; first, you need to stretch muscles slowly before they have enough warmth to allow you to increase its volume.

Static stretches, as their name suggests, are performed while holding a fixed position for a longer time. You should not move on to static stretches when your body is still cold. So, before you exercise it’s important to warm up and it’s important to do that with dynamic stretching. Walking is a great warm-up if you are going for a jog. If you are going for a walk, then a slower walk is a great warm-up.

As you exercise, your muscles will tighten as they are worked; they contract to move your joints and in doing so, they get smaller. At the end of your exercise, you want to gradually return the muscles to their original size. This is why we do static stretching at the end of exercising when our muscles are nice and warm. It’s also important to keep breathing when you do static stretches, to make sure there’s enough oxygen in the blood to help a muscle return to its normal length.

How often should you be stretching? It is very important to stretch before and after exercise sessions. If you don’t, you will experience tight muscles and more muscle soreness, and you may actually do some damage as well. If you could also fit in a dedicated stretching session weekly, that would be really good. You might want to put on some music or listen to a podcast, or watch TV, but whatever you choose, remember to start with those dynamic stretches first so there are some gradual movements to warm the muscles up before you go into the longer stretches.

In our Fitfish for a Fiver community, we have a weekly 15-minute ‘Stretch and Soul’ session available live or recorded.

It doesn’t take long to notice improvements and benefits and if there are certain areas of your body now that you know are quite tight and inflexible, you can use those as your benchmark. Work on those areas and see if you can notice an improvement. Stretching can really benefit your health in the longer term, keeping you more mobile, more agile, and better able to prevent injuries that might otherwise happen in older age too. Being flexible can enable you to carry out your everyday tasks, enjoy the exercise you want, live the lifestyle you want to live and ultimately, carry out your purpose in life.

Come and join our Fitfish for a Fiver Community


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