21 June 2009 ~ 0 Comments

Stretching for Boomers

In a recent Tweet I said June would be the month to focus on stretching tips.  Well we are still in June, so this is just in time.   Summer is the time we think about getting to the beach or the BBQ or the County Fair – so we want to work out and get going.  The activity that generally suffers is the stretching.  I raise my hand – I am guilty of this oversight.  And am I the only one who has said ‘well I will stretch tonight when I get home’ and that is the last time the thought entered my head?  You don’t have to be a Boomer to forget to stretch; I think a lot of people forget.

I know I don’t have to go into the benefits of stretching and the importance of stretching.  We have likely all lived long enough to have heard all the reasons.  If anyone wants to know more feel free to leave a comment and I will respond.  What we all want is a way to get in some stretching without it taking too much time, right.  And this is the point at which I tell you there are no shortcuts!  I won’t deny that, but I will add that some stretching is certainly better than no stretching.  So if you are pressed for time, do something rather than nothing at all.

So some tips:

1.   Stretch what you just worked.

If you are doing an upper body workout then start and end with stretching your back, chest and arms.  And for good measure, do these same stretches when you get up in the morning.  You will be amazed that this focused stretching helps recovery and minimizes soreness (and maybe even injury)

2.      If you miss the “after” stretch.

It is easy to finish the workout, jump in the shower and leave.  If this is you (and it is most of us) then see tip 3.  And also remember the morning after.  For 10 minutes after your morning shower, think of the workout you did yesterday and do a little stretching.

3.       Stretch as you complete that body part.

If you work Chest and Back on the same day (as an example), and if you complete back before  going to chest (of vice versa), you can do some stretching after completing the back workout, while you are taking a breather before the next set of exercises.  If your workout routine is to go back and forth between back and chest, then do the stretches after you complete the exercise (i.e. the three or four sets that complete the exercise).  This is an easier habit to get into; as you stop and take some water and think about the next exercise, or make notes in your notebook, do some stretching.  You’ll also end up doing more stretching this way, and it won’t seem like a chore since it didn’t require a block of time after the workout.

4.  How best to stretch.

OK we all know what happened to the “bounce stretch” of the ‘80’s – it went the same way as Disco and we were all much relieved.  Neither one was good, though at least Disco had its moments.  We now know to ease into the stretch and hold it.  I am here to offer a variation – the Boomer Stretch.  None of us likes the pain we feel as we stretch and realize it ain’t going any further.  (“But it used to, dammit!”)  Well it turns out that holding the position when it is painful is not ideal either – at least not for Boomers.  So here is the variation:  Get into the stretch and when you feel that twinge that says going further doesn’t feel good or isn’t happening, ease up on the stretch and then ease back into it.   This is almost like a super slow version of the bounce stretch.  So they likely new something in the ‘80’s they just didn’t know how to apply it.   NOTE:  If the twinge feels like real pain, stop everything!  You have been doing this long enough to gauge, right?!!)

More tips to follow, based on comments and feedback or perhaps some observations from the gym.

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