Someone made a very insightful comment to me recently. When I told this person that adding 15 min of hip stretches to my usual evening stretch routine helped my knee ache go away within a few days, her comment was “wow, you’re finally not stretching for no reason.”
Stretching “For No Reason”
My jaw hit the floor. I exclaimed, ”There are a million reasons to stretch every day, how could you ever see stretching when you are not in pain for NO REASON!?!” Then, she asked, “How many of your clients stretch 5 days out of the week without you on their case?” My reply: “I have one client who stretches on her own every day. She is an amazing 75-year-old darling of a woman with a long acting career in tv, film, and stage. She also has the worst scoliosis I have ever seen and she is on her feet at least 12 hours a day. If she doesn’t stretch, she can’t walk.” My friend says, “Exactly. We all think it is basically stretching for no reason until you are in pain. Then we stretch, and usually not enough.” Ok, I Get it.
The Time is Now
Here is the deal folks, if you are pain-free and stretch “for no reason” now (you only need 5-10 min a day, 3-5 days a week to be effective) you will continue stretch that way; pain-free. If you wait until you are in pain or injured to stretch, it will be just that — painful.
Benefits of Stretching
Another fact: the mere act of aging tightens our muscles and causes the range of motion in our joints to minimize. Might as well fight the battle with stretching. Some other benefits of stretching include increased blood flow, toxin flush, increased metabolism, staving off and diminishing cellulite, and producing endorphins.
Why not give it a shot a few times a week “for no good reason”? To get you started, try the three stretches below. Always keep your abs engaged and push yourself but don’t force your body. Pick a time of day and commit to it. All you need is 5 minutes — you can definitely find the time!
1) Seated forward bend for 10 breaths.
2) Split your legs open in a V and bend one knee in, then square your torso to the straight leg and reach for it with both arms. You should feel your back hamstring and hip stretch. Tuck your chin gently to get the full cervical spine stretch. Hold 10 breaths.
3) Switch side and repeat step 2.