10 minute After Workout Stretching Routine. Free Online Flexibility Video



How 10 Minutes Of Daily Stretching Can Undo Decades Of Sore, Neglected Muscles

My era ofWho needs stretching?ended with a bang and a whimper. As the starting gun of a 14-mile trail race sounded and I sprang forward just a little too enthusiastically, a jab of pain pierced my right hamstring. I kept running, slowly, but the off-and-on pain persisted long after I'd crossed the finish line. A few weeks later, my left knee started aching, and my left hip joined in a month or so after that. When I found myself throwing a jumbo bottle of ibuprofen into my cart at Costco, I made an appointment with a physical therapist. (Here are 8 pain-fighting tricks physical therapists swear by.)

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In her office, I enumerated my problems while she nodded sympathetically. Then she asked me to touch my toes. Bending over, I reached as far as I could—my fingertips stalling, to my tremendous surprise, midway between my knees and ankles.I can't touch my toes?I thought, feeling a little embarrassed.Since when?She had me lie on her table and manipulated my body in various ways, revealing that the muscles in my chest, hips, and lower back were as taut as violin strings, indicating a lack of limberness that was, she told me, responsible for the growing list of woes, including neck and lower-back pain, that had landed me in her office. Her verdict: My daily routine—sit at my desk writing for 8 or 9 hours, run 4 to 6 miles, stretch 0 minutes—had made my body dangerously inflexible. I limped out of her office with a promise to start limbering up. But I wondered: At 53, was it possible to regain my former flexibility?

Geeky science journalist that I am, I did what I always do when I need answers: I started investigating—and quickly came across dozens of stretch-centric studios and classes around the country, a clear sign of growing demand. Apparently I wasn't the only one in need of a flexibility tune-up. When I dug into the research, I found a dozen or so stretching studies that have yielded positive results—often with minimal time commitment from participants. Still, I wasn't convinced I'd have the same results outside a lab.

MORE:Flexible As A Pencil? These 12 Moves Can Help

Seeking a pro's opinion, I called David Behm, a professor of sports medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland's School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, who was involved in several of the clinical trials I'd read about, and asked him if a longtime nonstretcher can actually become more limber. "We've looked at all age groups," he told me, "and after a month of doing 10 minutes of stretching 3 days a week, our study subjects typically increase their range of motion 10 to 30%—significant enough to make a difference in how you feel and move." That's less time than I spend looking for a parking spot every week. Time to find an effective routine.

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As a kid I was so limber I could drop into splits on demand, and I assumed that I'd remain flexible without effort as I aged. Big mistake. Your genes, Behm told me, help determine whether your baseline flexibility is Gumby-like—but they only get you so far. "As you age, the composition of your muscles changes, and you tend to replace the pliable elastin with stiffer tissue that has less give," he says.

And that's only the beginning. Tendons, which attach muscle to bone, and fascia, the thin web of connective tissue that encloses and separates the muscles and organs, also stiffen up as they lose fluid with age. Injuries compound the problem by creating sticky scar tissue that prevents normal movement in parts of the muscle and fascia, making both less mobile. Being menopausal, I learned, doesn't help either. Before reaching midlife, most women are more flexible than men, but as estrogen, which bolsters muscles' suppleness, declines, so does the ability to scratch a mosquito bite in the middle of your back or even reach for dishes on a high shelf.

Next I called Mindy Caplan, an exercise physiologist certified by the American College of Sports Medicine, for advice on regaining some of my flexibility. She explained that exercise (like walking, running, cycling, or swimming) causes muscles to contract and should be balanced with flexibility moves that counteract the repetitive contractions. If you don't make an effort to stay limber, she told me, your muscles may become so tight they throw your alignment out of whack—which means that one unpleasant day you could be reaching for a towel on the floor and get a twinge in your back. "Eventually," Caplan cautions me, "lack of stretching will catch up with almost everyone." (Here are 4 whole-body stretches you haven't tried before, but should.)

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With that grim warning echoing in my head, I drive to StretchWorks, a studio in Redwood City, CA, for a 60-minute class that I hope will teach me some flexibility-enhancing moves I can do at home.

I'm lying on my back trying to contort my body into a stretch—knees crossed in the air above my hips, one hand grasping each ankle—when Tom Longo, the nimble instructor, kindly suggests a simpler variation for "those who aren't as limber." I glance around the packed studio at my bendy classmates. Even the 70-something guy next to me has better range of motion in his hips than I do. Clearly, Longo means me. I leave humbled but with a few simple stretches I plan to start implementing immediately.

I'm tempted to blame myself for all the years I dismissed stretching as a waste of time, but as I continue talking with experts, I realize that even those who know better have had to learn this lesson the painful way. Deidre Macdonald, a 49-year-old naturopathic physician in British Columbia, says she has advised patients for years to incorporate stretching into their routines—but didn't follow her own advice until she was in her 40s, when years of hunching over a desk left her with an aching back and hand numbness caused by nerve compression in her shoulders. "I started doing two stretches a couple of times a day—one for my chest, to open my shoulders, and a lunge to open up my hip flexors, which were tight from sitting," she says. "It's helped with everything—the back pain, the shoulder problems, and my posture."

Macdonald's experience underscores what she and other experts have long known: Stretching can provide relief from musculoskeletal-related pain. Alice Chen, a physiatrist at the Hospital for Special Surgery's Stamford Outpatient Center in Connecticut, says a stretching and strengthening program can be so effective for relieving back, neck, and hip pain that she rarely prescribes pain medication.

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No more NSAIDs? Now I'm even more excited to start limbering up.

MORE:The 10 Most Painful Conditions

I've been sitting at my desk for several hours when the alarm on my phone chirps, reminding me it's time to stretch. (Try these 5 stretches if you're stuck behind a desk all day.)  I get down on the floor and lie on my back with my right leg in the air, belt strap around the arch of my right foot, and pull gently on the strap until I feel a slight tug in my hamstring. I breathe deeply, as Longo instructed, to keep my body relaxed. Under my skin, the fibers in my hamstring and the layers of fascia surrounding it are lengthening ever so slightly. My muscle spindles, a type of muscle fiber, register the change in length and send that information via nerves to my spinal cord, triggering the stretch reflex—which, contrary to how it sounds, actually causes my stretched muscle to contract. The slight discomfort I feel is a warning from the nerves that I shouldn't push myself further. As I hold the lengthened position, however, the muscle spindles gradually get used to the stretch. After 30 seconds—the minimum length of time it takes to get the greatest benefit, according to research—I release my leg, rest for a few seconds, then repeat the move. This time, I can push myself a little further. The first stretch warmed up the viscous, fluidlike component of my muscle, and now it's offering less resistance. As I work my way through my routine, the viscous tissue in my chest, thighs, hips, and shoulders experiences the same warming and lengthening sensation, and a few minutes later I return to my desk feeling more limber.

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As the days tick by, I see that having a greater range of motion can make a meaningful difference. I wake in the morning with fewer aches and can stand up after a few hours of sitting and not feel so creaky. When I lunge to grab a falling coffee mug, I don't feel a single twinge in my back or hamstrings. My husband says my posture has improved, too, probably due to the "chest opener" stretch that I've become addicted to.

After more than a month of doing my at-home routine, my hip, back, and neck pain is nearly gone, and my hamstrings and knees flare up only after 4-plus-mile outings on the trail. Equally surprising, I've come to enjoy my daily flexibility training. It's a great stress reliever, and I love that it motivates me to get up from my desk and give my brain and body a break.

Plus, I've become slightly obsessed with seeing how much I can improve. I'm not going to be doing splits anytime soon, but when I'm warmed up, I can bend over and almost reach my ankles. At an age when I'm too set in my ways to care about the differences between Snapchat and WhatsApp, it's nice to know that my muscles, at least, can still become more flexible.

Stretch At Home
These simple moves will ease nagging aches and boost your felxibility in 10 minutes a day. "For the best results, do them three times a week," says Jeanna LeClaire Hill, a doctor of physical therapy at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

Loosen Up Your Calves

loosen calves
thayer allyson gowdy
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Walking, running, and wearing heeled shoes can result in tight calves, which can lead to foot and knee pain.

Try It:Stand about 2 feet from a wall, facing it in a staggered stance, one foot in front of the other. Keeping back heel down, place hands on wall and lean against it. Hold 30 seconds, then switch legs and repeat. Stretch each leg twice.

Unlock Your Hamstrings

stretch hamstrings
thayer allyson gowdy

Stiff hamstrings don't just make it impossible to touch your toes; they can pull on the muscles in the lower back, causing pain.

Try It:Lie on back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, holding one end of a belt or strap in each hand. Draw one knee in toward the chest and place middle of strap around arch of foot. Extend leg toward ceiling, holding 30 seconds. Repeat with other leg. Stretch each leg twice.

Relax Your Thighs

thigh stretch
thayer allyson gowdy

Easing tension in the quadriceps not only feels great but can also improve your posture and reduce your risk of injury.

Try It:Stand tall with one hand on the back of a sturdy chair for support. Bend one knee and grab top of foot with hand, pulling it toward your body and pushing hips forward until you feel a stretch in front thigh. Hold 30 seconds. Repeat with other leg. Stretch each leg twice.

Ease Your Achy Hips

achy hips
thayer allyson gowdy

Tight hip flexors can draw the pelvis forward, creating lower-back pain.

Try It:Start by kneeling on floor. Place on foot in front of you, then slowly press hips forward until you feel a stretch in front of back thigh. Hold 30 seconds. Repeat with other leg. Stretch each leg twice.

Bliss Out Your Back

back stretch
thayer allyson gowdy

The muscles in your upper back and the sides of your body can become tight from prolonged sitting, leading to pain and stiffness. This gentle stretch helps undo the damage.

Try It:Start in Child's Pose with arms stretched out in front of you and forehead on floor. Without moving hips, walk hands to one side. Hold 30 seconds. Repeat on opposite side.






Video: Free 10 Minute Stretching Routine for Runners. Online Flexibility Training Video.

How 10 Minutes Of Daily Stretching Can Undo Decades Of Sore, Neglected Muscles
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Date: 07.12.2018, 05:26 / Views: 33594