Everything's more fun when you're flexible
“Despite all the benefits, stretching is often overlooked.”
How are you spending your leisure time this winter? Long walks on the beach? Walking the trails in your local area? Games of doubles on the tennis court? Golf? Skiing? Flexibility—and we’re talking the muscular kind here, although a go-with-the-flow attitude is also an asset--makes every activity you do a little easier and a little more successful. How do you maintain or improve your flexibility? Regular stretching.
“When you don’t stretch, certain muscle groups shorten and become tight over time,” says Hannah Karass Vice President of Programs and Science for Curves. “Sitting for long periods, for example, shortens your hamstrings and your hip flexors. And many women carry their stress in their shoulders, which tenses and tightens those muscles. Stretching restores flexibility and length.” With flexibility, your muscles and joints are able to work through their full range of motion. Your swim stroke, your golf or tennis swing, and even your walking stride are fluid and highly functional when muscles are flexible, and performance is enhanced.
Of course, physical activity can also cause muscles to tighten. Think back to that feeling of stiffness you had after a particularly lengthy or vigorous bout of activity. Regular stretching helps keep you loose and ready to play.
Flexibility can help prevent pain and injury, too. Tight muscles are more easily strained or torn when you’re reaching across the garden bed to pull weeds or extending to return a tennis serve or picking up the pace on a morning stroll with friends. Also, tightness in one spot can cause problems in another. Let’s revisit those hamstrings. When they’re tight they put more stress on the muscles in your lower back, and unrelenting stress can lead to back pain.
Despite all the benefits, stretching is often overlooked. Be honest, have you sometimes walked out the door of your Curves without doing your post-circuit stretches? Some days it just feels as though we only have time for the main course no sides, even though we should consider stretching an integral part of the whole.
The Curves Body Basic Circuits Stretch and Strength Circuit* does just that, integrates stretches into the circuit—you’ll do 30 seconds on a Curves strength machine followed by 30 seconds of stretching and so on to complete a total body workout in 30 minutes. (And, by the way, Karass still recommends that you stretch before you walk out the door.)
Consider making the Body Basic Circuits Stretch and Strength Circuit* a regular part of your fitness routine, so that you can enjoy fully all the fun that winter has to offer.