I was recently reminded that while I plan on Radiating Vitality and living to be at least 120, my body needed some T.L.C.
After sitting cross-legged, talking on a 3.5 hour-long conference call and then high-tailing it over to my workout DVD I spent the next few days bent over like my kids do when they dress up like a Grandma for Halloween. It was not pretty, although I admit it was slightly comical. My lower back ached so badly I couldn’t complete my workouts for the next few days and I was politely reminded by my body that I needed to listen to the cues it had been giving me. I was limping like a puppy with a hurt paw and the only thing “Radiating” was pain and tension.
“They” say flexibility lessens as you get older, that we need to add in a minimum of 15-20 minutes of daily stretching into our routine in order to maintain what we have. Apparently, my 5 minutes of stretching during my workout and 5 minutes after as part of the cool down, coupled with flopping my legs up on the bathroom counter and stretching as I’m drying my hair isn’t enough.
Harvard Health Publications reminds us that “the evidence that stretching either before or after exercise actually prevents injury is mixed. Even if stretching has not been proven to reduce injury or the aches and pains from exercise, stretching does improve your flexibility by increasing your range of motion. As we get older, we tend to lose range of motion in our joints and spine because the elasticity of body tissues decreases. Stretching can’t stop the physical changes, but it can slow the rate at which range of motion declines. With stretching, you will recapture some flexibility and take better advantage of what your joints are designed to do.”
How often to we all “know” what we need to be doing, but yet that head knowledge hasn’t translated into consistent and successful action? I own several yoga DVD’s and P90X and P90X2 series that also have various forms of yoga and stretching included but apparently I need more action. I actually love yoga and any other form of stretching but I hadn’t made that a specific, intentional part of my day. It was one of those things I’d brush off until I had a lazy Sunday. Rob and I would say, “We should make stretching something we do as a family several times a week”, but didn’t put it into practice.
OK, Body…I hear you. I know I said I’d listen before you yelled at me and I lied. Next time I’ll listen to your whispers.
Now it is time to make time for lengthening those muscles so they don’t decide to yell at me once again. Want to join me? Feel free to share your favorite stretches, workouts, and acts of self-care on my facebook page. With my 40th birthday around the corner I am choosing to gift myself the time for this simple act of self-love, and make time for daily, intentional stretching. Not only will it help with flexibility but it will start and end my day in a relaxed state of mind…I bet my kids will appreciate that!
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net