Benefits of Stretching

As a former dancer I know what it is like to be extremely flexible. I danced from the age of 2 1/2 until I was 19. When I was 19 I was diagnosed with Cohrn’s Disease. I got extremely sick for close to a month and then was put in the hospital for five days since they could not figure out what was wrong. Because of all of this and then being bed ridden for five days all of my muscles atrophied. (I lost 15 pounds in a little less than two weeks.) Once I was getting better and getting stronger I did not take into account that as I rebuilt my muscle I also needed to rebuild my flexibility. I did, however, regain some of my flexibility when I began training for bikini competitions. I would really try to stretch when I was done with my workouts because what I was doing was also taking a toll on my body. I knew that by stretching it would help with my muscle soreness and also help my recovery time in-between workouts.

Once I got pregnant though I stopped working out and in turn stopped stretching on a regular basis. I am now to the point where I am realizing how much I need to be stretching and how good it is for the body. Especially after having a baby because pregnancy changes your body so much and is really hard on your body. When I was younger I would do extreme stretching which I am not even attempting at all now. After doing some research extreme stretching is not good on your joints and ligaments. Even though this is something that is starting to become a craze that is being shown all over Instagram and Pinterest.

If you have started to notice tightness in your hips and back I really suggest trying to stretch your legs at least a couple times a week. This will help you feel so much better. You don’t have to do anything extreme either in order to see some results and feel some of the benefits of stretching. Something as simple as leaning over and trying to touch your toes is a great stretch that you can do in the morning before you get dressed. It also helps to wake up your body. Just make sure to take it really easy since your muscles are not really warmed up. I do this sometime to just help get my blood flowing and really wake up my body.

Personally, I like to stretch before I go to bed. Since I have been walking around all day my muscles are already warmed up and I am able to watch some tv or listen to podcasts and stretch for a half hour or so after I put little man to bed. It really seems to help focus and quiet my mind after a long day. I know a lot of people are really into yoga which is a great form of exercise. I just have never been the type to really enjoy yoga all that much. I would much rather stretch and connect with my mind and my body by doing movements and stretches that my body is still familiar with from my ballet days. Sometimes I am also able to stretch when I am playing with Ray. I use the time when we are playing with mega blocks or when we are coloring to stretch. Stretching when I am playing with him is not as peaceful or mindful but sometimes I am feeling extra stiff and it is the perfect time since I am already on the floor playing with him.

Some of the benefits of stretching include
– Enabling flexibility
– Helping with posture
– Improve energy levels by helping blood circulation
– Helps to improve your overall outlook on life
– It also helps to reduce soreness after workouts

If you are new to stretching some things to remember are to strive for symmetry. A lot of times our bodies are more flexible on one side. Just because one side is “better” than the other does not mean that you should hold a stretch longer on the side that is not as flexible. Typically you should hold your stretches for 30-60 seconds. If you hold for longer you can risk injury to your joints. Another thing to remember is to never bounce in your stretch. I know back in the day when I was dancing that is what they taught us to do, however, it has now been shown to cause more harm than good.

Most importantly, if you want to see improvements, make sure you are keeping up with stretching and making it part of your weekly routine. You will definitely start to see and feel the difference!

 

 

*Information on this page is from my own personal experience and research. Always be sure to speak with your doctor before beginning any workout or stretching routines or programs.

Working Out Renewed

I don’t know about all of you but I am getting a new start on my resolutions this month. For me, the month of January was a lot about rest and getting things back in order after the holidays. The thought of starting all sorts of things that I wanted to for my resolutions was something that just did not happen. Also because it has been so cold and snowy with barley any sunshine it has been tough to get out of the funk that I have been in for the past month. I know that a lot of people feel like if they have not started what they wanted to do in January that the rest of the year is not worth it but that does not have to be the case. What you can do is forgive yourself for not getting started right away. Be kind to yourself, especially if you had a whole month of craziness with the holidays. Maybe you just needed that month to get back into some sort of balance and rest up a bit. Now take this new found energy this month and really get at it!!

I keep finding that the more I think about starting to workout and try to plan and prepare for it the more I just dread it and do not want to do it. This week I said that I wanted to start up a plan again but I did not think about it much after that. So when Monday rolled around I found the time to squeeze in a workout at home. (My whole plan that I am doing is able to be done at home which is all I can do right now.) Then I was able to do my workout Tuesday afternoon when little man was napping. I find that the less I think about what I want to do the more likely I am to just get it done when the time comes. I always seem to think about things so much and think about all the other things that I need to do as well that working out keeps getting put on the back burner.

In reality, a lot of it is just a mindset. You have to want to do it and have to make the time to do it. I thought that after I had Ray that getting back into working out would be no problem, however, I was definitely wrong about that one! Every time I have tried to workout after having a baby it was so much more difficult and my body has not been able to do what I think I am able to do in my head. A lot of that has to do with me training for competitions before I had a baby. I know what I was able to do back then and I have to realize that I have to build back up to that now.

This time around I am really reminding myself of that and making sure I start off easy so that I am not burning myself out in the middle of a workout. I am also trying to make sure that I do not have any injuries. It is good to be a little sore after a workout but before I am pretty sure I pulled a muscle or two because I lifted too heavy and too much all at once. Hopefully this time it will stick and I will be able to start coming up with my own plans and workouts soon. For now I am using a program that was made up by Ashy Bines. If you don’t know who she is definitely check her out on YouTube! I am doing her 28 day booty program (she is not offering this program anymore. I got it about a year ago) I am hoping that this will help me kick start my working out again. For me she is just really inspiring and motivational.

Let me know if you all are starting back up again with some resolutions or what some of you do for workouts!!!