Stretching Benefits every Middle Age Grandma Needs to Know (and 7 Ways it Helps me)

Stretching regularly gives your body the capacity to do more and more!

One thing I have learned is that taking the time to stretch regularly certainly has benefits.

It not only boosts strength and performance and capacity in other activities, but minimizes chance for injury. Stretching also gives time to breathe and be present within yourself.

I used to have a hard time stretching properly since I was always in such a hurry and didn’t truly see the benefits. Now, I have learned to enjoy the opportunity to quieten the mind and gently stretch the whole body and it has really now helped me in several ways….

Here is 7 ways stretching has helped me…

  1.  Taking the time to stretch has helped to ease stress, and after a week of challenges and stressful situations, the muscle tension and uneasiness that can occur needs some release!  Stretching really helps to relax the muscles and improve blood flow.  It helps to release endorphins, which give me a sense of relaxation and well-being.  It has helped me to have a more optimistic outlook.
  2. Stretching has helped to improve my posture and ease off pain in my upper back.  After working on a computer and being slouched over a desk all week, stretching the lower back, chest and shoulders helps to get my spine in better alignment and improve my posture.   Having my shoulders back in proper position and sitting taller has really helped to have less muscle aches between shoulder blades and thus less headaches!
  3. The range of motion in my muscles have improved a lot over time and I have had much less issues with injuries and definitely have noticed less lower back incidents or pain “tweaks” with day to day activities such as picking up my grandson, carrying boxes and moving furniture.
  4. I have noticed that by being consistent with stretching, that my muscles have more stamina and energy.  Stretching improves blood flow and healing of the muscles and I noticed my exercise endurance has improved!  I can make it through more lifting reps and my cardio has improved significantly since my muscles don’t fatigue as quickly.  Oh, and I notice that my muscles recover faster after a workout too and I have far less muscle soreness even with heavy workouts.
  5. What I found before I dedicated to stretching regularly was that my muscles were tight and were less effective during exercise.  So this regular stretching I am doing now relaxes all of my muscles and allows them to be more fully available during vigorous exercise…thus my performance improves!   I can run faster, lift more, jump higher etc and it feels great!
  6. I have noticed stretching and relaxation prior to bed time is beneficial. Only 5-10 min of relaxed stretching and deep breathing prior to sleep has helped to improve my sleep quality.
  7. I do 3-5 minutes of lower back, and hip stretches before getting out of bed in the morning which really minimizes lower back stiffness and pain… I find that without this short stretch session before getting out of bed, that it takes about 30-60 min to feel the stiffness ease off.  The joys of being a over-45 granny! 🙂

Stretching is an important component of any fitness program.  Be sure to take the time to do this on a regular basis to feel better, be stronger and more resistant to injury, improve your athletic performance and to feel more positive too!

I am feeling happy and accomplished today…got a 20 min workout done called MMA Active Recovery….Day 14 of my current 30 day fitness challenge is complete!

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What Toddlers Can Teach Us About Health, Fitness, and Falling Off the Wagon

Just fell, but that's not going to stop me!
Just fell, but that’s not going to stop me!

My  two-year-old grandson inspires me.

I adore watching him plod through tall grass. It’s up to his knees in places and he pushes through every step to get where he wants to go. If there’s a mud puddle in his way, he marches right through it. Thick mud tries to hold him fast, but he tugs and yanks without stopping, until his feet are finally free, and continues right on wherever he was determined to go.

Watching him made me think of all the times I’ve had to plod through tall grass in my life – abuse, divorce, relentless weight gain, rejection, working out at 4:00am – sometimes I pushed through, and sometimes I gave up, turned around, and went back the way I came.

Toddlers, I discovered, know the secret to health, fitness, and falling off the wagon.

They don’t hold themselves up to impossible standards like we do. To them, life is one big experiment. Some things they try work, and other times they fall down and get a big ugly bump on their face. They don’t seem embarrassed by it though, and it doesn’t keep them from trying again.

I love that. We can definitely learn from their example.

Time and again, clients will start a fitness program or a clean-eating plan, and within a few weeks, they’ll stop. Give up. Quit. The reasons are many – scheduling issues, the cost, or a lack of planning or time.
Then they beat themselves up for failing, and feel even worse than when they began.

But toddlers know something we need to know. Life is not perfect, and neither are we.

The bumps, bruises, and hang-ups they constantly, continuously, endlessly encounter do not beat them.
To them, life is an experiment. Some things will work, some won’t.

It’s about progress, not perfection.

This is the lesson we need to learn.

Progress requires experimentation, and experimentation will result in fails.
We need to allow ourselves to fail.

Maybe the Plyo workout isn’t for you. Maybe it’s too intense or your wrists can’t handle it. Don’t give up, just try something else. There are loads of choices. Maybe weights, kickboxing or jogging. Try swimming or sports. Just don’t stop!

If counting calories stresses you out, don’t stop managing your diet, just try another method. Try portion control. Or introduce shakes. Or focus on making one small, positive change and holding to it every day. There are lots of ways to make progress.

Remember, it’s about progress, not perfection.

The amazing thing about allowing yourself to fail is that your expectations change.

Now you’re not holding yourself up to some impossible standard. Suddenly it becomes about one thing – the smoothie. Didn’t work? Try different recipes, different times of day, or have juice or a salad instead. It’s okay. We’re experimenting to see what sticks and what doesn’t. The great thing about fitness is that there’s no one way to health.

Progress, not perfection.

Sometimes we need to just take a cue from the inspiring little people around us.
They’re smarter than we think.

What is one thing you do to get back on the wagon after a fail?

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