The Cheapest Workout – and the Best!
It may be the most important, the most beneficial exercise there is. It also happens to be the cheapest and the simplest, requiring exactly no equipment, nada floor space and zero special clothes.
You may have known that stretching increases flexibility, allows for easier movement and better balance. But did you know it relieves low-back pain, reduces muscle soreness, promotes relaxation, improves posture, agility and athletic performance? It also reduces tension, improves circulation, reduces anxiety, stress, and fatigue, improves mental alertness, decreases the risk of injury, makes your work easier, tunes your mind into your body and flat-out makes you feel better naturally!
Stretching conditions the muscles for exertion and exercise, making every muscle movement more efficient. Sound interesting? Ask for a list of stretches that can help your particular spinal pattern and then apply these simple rules:
- Always warm up your muscles for at least five minutes prior to stretching.
- Good warm-ups include jogging in place, slow biking and jumping jacks.
- When you start, never bounce or bob. Not only is this less effective than simply “holding” the stretch, but it can also be very dangerous and lead to injuries.
- Always perform each stretching exercise in a slow, controlled manner.
- Exhale as you begin the stretch and then relax and breathe normally throughout the stretch.
- Hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Stretches should feel slightly uncomfortable, to “feel the stretch” in the muscles, not the joints. There should be no acute pain.
- Always complete each stretch for both sides of your body or limb in the same way.