What is one of the best ways to care for your body? Working out. What’s needed for a great workout? Shoes, check. Water bottle, check. Headphones, check. Motivation, check. What’s missing in this list? Stretching.
Those of us who have been going to the gym for a long time have our regular routines, often missing this important element for getting the maximum benefits of the workout.
Flexibility plays a key role in functioning muscles and balance.
Are your muscles feeling a little crankier than they did a few years ago? Gentle stretching will warm up muscles and increase flexibility to get the full benefit of your workout. It doesn’t have to take a long time, it doesn’t have to be hard or complicated.
There are all sorts of ways to stretch. I prefer to start with the foam roller to get the kinks out of my back, neck, and arms. It gets blood moving through my muscles. Others like to do a quick warm-up on a cardio machine and then head for the area allocated for stretching in the gym. Yes, it’s such an integral part of exercising that gyms actually create space and provide mats, foam rollers and balls to encourage good movement.
Stretches for increased flexibility and mobility shouldn’t be difficult or hurt. Which ones are best for you depends on your fitness level and what exercises you’ll be doing. Ask one of the trainers if you’re not sure what the best actions are for you. There are lots of websites and videos on the internet that can be helpful, too.
I love the classes offered at BAC. The instructors do warm-up exercises at the beginning and cool down stretches at the end of the class. However, their time is limited to focus on this part. My recommendation is to get to class early, or stay late, and do some of your own stretching exercises.
Don’t forget to stretch before or after your workout. It’s worth the time because your flexibility will improve, you’ll get more out of exercising and feel better when you’re done.
Aging in Place by Design
Susie is a consultant for Aging in Place. Contact her if you have questions about adding safety and comfort solutions to your home.