Saturday, April 29, 2017

Reach Higher with a Stretching Routine

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by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner

Accomplish fitness goals with less stress and more success. Stretch your way to better fitness …

A balanced workout usually conjures up images of treadmills and climbers alongside dumbbells and weight equipment. Alternating between cardio routines and strength training provides balance. However, for a complete fitness program, it is essential to include a stretching routine.

Flexibility Training

Learn how to properly add stretching into your workout and daily activities.
Learn how to properly add stretching into your workout and daily activities.

Another term for “stretching,” flexibility training shows you are serious about fitness. This kind of stretching involves more than a few arm reaches while yawning to the sound of your alarm clock. A formalized stretching routine complements your workout and your every day functionality. It also can aid weight-loss efforts. (Now you’re paying attention!) Here’s how stretching is every smart exerciser’s secret weapon:

Allows Efficient, Effective Movements

Proper stretching improves range-of-motion in joints and loosens muscles. A good stretch segment segues the body and mind into the heart of your workout. It improves blood flow, which warms muscles and preps you physically. It also provides a natural pause to mentally prepare for the accomplishments you are about to make. It’s a chance to breathe out the day’s tensions and breathe in its freshness, clearing your thoughts for a mindful workout.

Reduces Injuries

Flexibility training increases functionality. Stretches that encompass the entire body assure your movements, on the Fitness Floor and elsewhere, are executed properly and fully. The need for compensation of weaker areas is reduced as the body works as a more unified structure. More time can be spent exercising and less time nursing sore, tired muscles that got used incorrectly or pulled while tight.

Improves Weight-Loss Efforts

Sounds too good to be true. A sweat-free way to lose weight! (Although yoga, Pilates, and flexibility-based fitness methods can bring on the heat.) The benefits of flexibility training on weight-loss efforts are mainly secondary.

scale-403585_1280A happy body moves with minimal effort and maximum balance and coordination. This translates into more physical activity throughout the day—and more calories burned. The result also includes the ability to work out more often and with less discomfort. A workout that includes flexibility training is often more effective at burning calories.

Skip the snack break. Stretch instead!
Skip the snack break. Stretch instead!

Along with its ability to help keep you active, frequent stretch sessions reduce stress. Coordinate them with mindful breathing for maximum benefit. Satisfy snack cravings with a five-minute stretching break. Replace emotional eating with tension-reducing stretches. You don’t have to be a yogi to gain the rewards of a deep, satisfying stretch.

Although often energizing, some stretch sessions create the perfect scenario for the quality sleep needed during a weight loss journey. Poor sleep can affect the hormones that regulate hunger, triggering unnecessary, and often unhealthy, cravings. See http://fitnessandwellnessnews.com/waist-wont-budge/ for more on sleep’s effect on your weight-loss efforts.

Plain-Old Feels Good

Collective sigh as stretched muscles release tension.

At the start of a fitness class, one often hears content sighs of relief around the room as muscles and joints release their tightness. Work with an instructor or trainer to create a variety of stretching methods to accommodate your needs as the day evolves—morning, office, midday, bedtime. Faithfully perform them, if for no other reason than it simply feels good.

Reach for your fitness goals in the most literal sense. Stretch out arms and legs, neck and back. Go farther with a flexible body than you thought possible.

 

Image Credits

Exercise bands: pixabay.com/en/pregnancy-health-stretching-929845

Scale: pixabay.com/en/scale-diet-fat-health-tape-weight-403585

Stretch break: pixabay.com/en/meditation-yoga-woman-girl-sand-609235

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