Some forms of exercise can be very demanding and when you are recovering from an injury or you are getting a bit older it can be easy to just give up on the idea of exercise all together, but there is a way that you can get good exercise without over exerting yourself, I wrote about the opposing ideas that have been put forward regarding stretching and in the article I tried to put across the arguments for both sides some say you should stretch before a workout some say you should stretch after a workout and some stretching is a waste of time and that you would be better off just doing your exercises without stretching, this last idea was mentioned in this article
Reason not to stretch
” The thought that stretching relaxes and is therapeutic for tight muscles is not only a misconception, it has never been proven. It actually weakens muscles, and that’s definitely not a good thing”
Reason to stretch
“Dancers and gymnasts are perhaps one exception to anti-stretching. For many of these individuals, stretching is necessary to some degree as their activities require a larger range of motion than is needed in order to perform their activities. The static stretching for these individuals should still be handled very carefully, ideally contracting the antagonist muscle to prevent overstretching. This would mean if a dancer was working on a bar and stretching his or her hamstrings, he or she would contract the quadriceps muscles, hold for up to thirty seconds, and repeat for at least three times. An active aerobic warm-up for at least 10 minutes is essential. However, I can say from my experience with professional dancers they always feel the need to stretch more than they need to because of underlying problems – most often dietary inadequacies, nutrient imbalances, and injuries make their muscles “more tight.” Once the underlying problems are resolved theses performers feel much more limber and less of a need to stretch, yet they’re much more flexible.”
As I said before there are people who think that you should stretch and there are people who say that you should not, I found this article and this is typical of the two conflicting theories on stretching or not, the difference with this is the contradiction comes from the same article so if the writer is this confused what hope is there for the rest of us ?
From my own experience I tried walking the dog standing like a tree and other general forms of exercise, I stopped stretching for a while after reading that it was supposed to be bad for you and found that when I tried to walk the dog or any other form of exercise that my legs felt kind of sticky and the problem I found was that if my legs felt sticky I felt that I was going to do harm to myself and that thought can stop you from pushing further with your exercise routine it was as if I had breaks on, you see I had always done stretching exercises from about age eleven when I started to play rugby, from there I went on to do karate, more stretching and then various types of martial arts and each and every martial art that I did had stretching in it, it is not just physical when you exercise it is also mental and if your mind doesn’t like your body won’t either so if stretching relaxes your mind and your muscles you are half way there, if mind feels there is a problem in your legs for example it will put the breaks on. I have now come to the conclusion that stretching works for me, if you are the same then I have got two videos that you can take a look at below
In this video is a Tai Chi move called snake creeps down It is a type of dynamic stretch that you can try for yourself. You can war up by trying any of the exercises here Once you have tried some of those you can try this just stand and relax and slowly put your weight on to your left foot raise your right hand up, this will help you to balance, and then slowly crouch down and at the same time put your right foot out whilst your right hand goes down towards the floor, then slowly stand back up, you can repeat this on the other side if you wish. This is a dynamic inside leg and groin stretch.
When you have done the snake creeps down exercise you may wish to try this simple kick which will also be a dynamic stretch
first stand up and find your balance then raise both of your arms the right arm to the front and your left arm to the side at the same time that you kick your leg up, whilst you kick aim the toe of your right foot at the right hand this can be done with the left hand side as well, you can do as many of these as you wish and as you progress you will find that you can kick higher if you wish to. Most experts that have an opinion on stretching often say that if you are going to stretch then it is best before intense exercise to do dynamic stretching and then static stretching when you are warming down, I think that Tai Chi has got some very good dynamic stretches in it’s routines and I think that Tai Chi was used in ancient time as a form of dynamic and deliberate body warming and loosening exercise that can be either low impact or high impact depending on your approach and physical or mental needs. When these exercises are done with coordinated breathing they become a form of moving meditation or moving, dynamic yoga.
If there were conclusive evidence that stretching was bad for you the medical experts wouldn’t be having this argument, so my advice would be do what feels good for your body and your mind.
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