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Healthy tips for busy people. Get the skinny. Start feeling better.

Then and Now

Then and Now

by Becca Brannan, RN - April 02, 2014

I remember doing backbends over and over when I was a kid. Lean back, arms over head and just fall backwards to land perfectly on my hands. Never even a flicker of a thought about not making it or my arms giving in and landing on my head! I was super flexible and had not an ounce of fear in me. Those were the days…

Remember when you were a kid? What daring feats did you do on long hot summer days? Cartwheels, climbing trees, playing on the monkey bars or maybe flying through the air on a rope swing that you begged your dad to put up on that old live oak in the backyard? Whatever it was, I bet you were as fearless as I was and way more flexible than we are these days.

When people consider exercising, stretching is often overlooked even though it is extremely important as we age. If we don’t continue to stretch each day, we will lose our range of motion in our joints. Which makes everyday activities all the more difficult to accomplish. Just think about the last time you were sitting on the floor playing with the kiddos. It is harder to get up the older we get, isn’t it?

Did you know…

Without regular exercise after the age of 30, you lose 5-10% of your muscle mass each decade? That is up to a half pound of muscle each year.

Here are some tips to remember as you incorporate stretching back into your daily routine:
• Always warm up before doing stretching exercises (a few minutes of walking will do).
• Breathe normally while holding a stretch.
• Hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. Relax, breathe and repeat the stretch 2-3 times.
• Mild discomfort is okay when performing a stretch. BUT, if it hurts, you are pushing too hard.
• Never bounce into a stretch. Make slow steady movements.
• Avoid locking your joints.
• Stretch both sides of the body and opposing muscle groups.
• Everyone has different degrees of flexibility. So don’t overdo a stretch because of someone next to you.
• Talk to your physician about current or former musculoskeletal issues, injuries or problems that might affect your ability to stretch safely.

Stretching improves balance, strength, joint mobility and flexibility, so don’t leave it out of your everyday routine! Who knows, you might even be able to do a few backbends or the splits one day soon… IF you stretch daily!


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