Stretching is absolutely necessary for maintaining flexibility. Why do we need flexibility, you ask? There’s more than one answer to this question. Being flexible allows you to:
● Move your body with less energy
● Maintain a greater range of motion
● Increase physical performance
● Decrease your risk of injury
● Increase blood and nutrient flow to muscles
Anyone who works a desk job for a living knows how stiff their legs, hips, and back can feel after a long day’s work. How about after a week? A year? Three years? Imagine going three years without stretching much at all. Sounds awful, right? Unfortunately, millions of people go through life living this way. Not only is ignoring stretching detrimental to your health, it generally results in our bodies feeling tight and uncomfortable.
2 Types of Stretching
If you’ve been slacking on your stretching duties, the good news is it’s never too late to start!
The two main types of stretching are called static and dynamic stretching. Static stretching is slow and controlled. An example would be sitting on the floor with your legs in front of you and slowly reaching to touch your toes.
Dynamic stretching is far less controlled and should only be performed by people who have both a history of practicing static stretching and have been informed on proper technique. An example of dynamic stretching would be holding onto a fence while swinging one leg in front of and behind you, like a pendulum.
There are also tons of affordable tools on the market that can help you target stubborn knots and scar tissue, which are the result of muscle damage. When we lift weights, we’re making small tears in our muscles because we know that when they heal, they’ll regrow bigger and stronger. Damage can also result from poor posture, repeated movement, or lack of movement.
Two of our favorite tools are foam rollers and balls. The best foam rollers feature a hard plastic center cylinder surrounded by firm, durable foam. Foam rollers are useful for rolling out entire muscle groups, like the back or the legs. They aren’t effective in targeting trigger points, which brings us to roller balls.
We recommend The Bodyworks Ball (JUMP), a handy self-massage tool for targeting hard-to-reach knots. Bernadette Robinson, jump rope expert and the founder of Make It Fun NYC, recently used The Bodyworks Ball to heal an impinged shoulder (a condition in which shoulder rotator cuff tendons are trapped and compressed during shoulder movements). In conjunction with regular physical therapy work, she was able to regain normal shoulder function and restore range of motion.
Use the code: JUMP at checkout to receive 10% off of your purchase.
Where to Begin
If you’re busy and on-the-go, juggling kids, pets, spouses, work, and trying to stay healthy, we have the perfect plan for you. The most important aspect of stretching is consistency. Don’t have time to stretch for 30 minutes a day? No worries – that’s actually not what you need. By stretching a little bit each day, it’s been proven you can make steady gains in flexibility.
Instead, start by stretching a little when you wake up. Take less than five minutes to do a few stretches. Yoga poses are great. Then, two or three times throughout your work day, remember to stand up and stretch for a couple of minutes. Finally, stretch and roll out with your foam rollers and roller balls before bed. Even after a few days of this routine, you’ll be surprised at how much better you feel!
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Until next time,
Team Make It Fun