In previous editions of this Chronicle, we talked about some fundamental "static" stretching exercises that will assist with increasing mobility. Given the ease with which this can be used, it is something that every sufferer of arthritis should be doing every day.
Stretching is going to go a long ways toward restoring lost mobility (as much as 50% lost between the ages of twenty and seventy.) As well, it has some other very important health benefits: range of motion improves, posture is better, you feel more agile, and it helps in preventing injuries.
We talked about using this "static" stretching technique which has virtually unlimited possibilities. There are almost endless ranges of ways in which you can "stretch" your body extremities.
In terms of frequency, I recommend stretching every day. So long as you don't overdo it and are careful to rest when you feel too much impact, the benefits of spending 15-30 minutes a day stretching are incredible.
Do you want these benefits?
Stretching is so simple and beneficial that it seems to speak for itself. However, if you are not motivated to gain these wonderful benefits, it is almost certain that you will do an inadequate job of it and as well, begin to lose the motivation.
My feeling is that if you begin doing this for the first time, you will see the changes in your body within as little as thirty days. That is a very small commitment of time when you counter with the way you will feel. It makes a huge difference.
If it is tough for you to personally get motivated to do this, get someone else to do them with you. A neighbor, friend or spouse who is also doing this, usually is a lot more fun than doing it alone. (I feel so strongly about this that I don't need anything except the rewards I get. You should get there yourself.) One caution should be mentioned though. Sometimes when you are stretching with a partner, they may push the exercise too far or beyond your capabilities. Just be aware that this can happen.
If You are Exercising Now
If you are currently exercising, try using stretching as an "intermediate" step. Do it before exercising and afterwards. If you are lifting weights for example, try doing a set of exercises and stretching before and after each set. You will be amazed at the difference.
Some Cautionary Remarks
Most people that are just learning how to stretch effectively make the mistake of thinking that whatever they do; it is going to work out. Usually, these are the common pitfalls:
- Make sure you hold the "stretch" long enough
- Warm up before you begin stretching
- Doing stretching exercises incorrectly*
- Stretching too hard (Yes, you can do too much)
- The biggest mistake of all is not stretching at all.
* There are some great books available in book stores. If you don't want to go to that expense, check the library.
J.R. Rogers is the founder and President of Activex America, Inc. makers of Liquid Glucosamine Formula Syn-flex®