Before I regularly did pilates I would frequently get out of bed and feel like I’d been in a car crash. That feeling of stiff joints and a lack of range of motion is common amongst the thirty plus brigade. It could be a result of the previous day’s activities or the way we slept but it is an all too common complaint. A sedentary lifestyle can tighten the muscles and put them in a state of shortness, leaving you feeling like a plank of wood.
So just like your morning coffee is a ritual, factor in an element of stretching everyday. It will help to increase your range of motion, warm the joints, increase blood flow, put you in a good frame of mind, improve your posture and generally give you more energy.
Stretching can be in the form of static or dynamic stretches. Static are the ones you hold in position for 10-20 seconds and they only stretch one muscle at a time. Dynamic stretching is when you move the body and this targets multiple muscles at a time. Other ways to stretch can be done in the form of Yoga, Pilates reformer, Pilates mat, Barre and dance classes.
Here are my tips…
Try to do some form of stretching everyday even if it’s just touching your toes.
Make sure you don’t hold your breath as you stretch.
The benefits of yoga and pilates for stretching and increasing flexibly is worth the time and investment.
There are plenty of stretching apps to download to guide you through the moves.
Don’t stretch cold muscles.
Use a prop such as a foam roller, resistance band or pilates ring to help you stretch more effectively.
A few deep breaths as you stretch will help to enhance the stretch and relieve any tension.
Check out your local studio or gym for classes aimed specifically at stretching.
Always stretch after running and cycling or over time you could end up with an injury.
Stretching can be done anytime of the day but the more you do it the less you will feel stiff as a board when you get out of bed.