The Importance of Stretching and Flexibility

Far too many people overlook the importance of stretching and flexibility. While these people almost never miss a cardio or strength training workout, they rarely or never stretch.

I used to be one of these people myself. Throughout my twenties, thirties and most of my forties, I was dedicated to improving my cardiovascular fitness and building my strength and lean muscle mass, but I almost never stretched. And even on the rare occasions when I did, I basically just went though the motions.

I started to think much more seriously about my flexibility once I was in my late forties. I strained my left hamstring during a cardio workout, and then several months later I strained my right hamstring. Around this same time I also started to experience some low back pain.

I was especially concerned about the low back pain, as I was worried that if it became worse I might have trouble working out. I was also worried that some of my ordinary day-to-day activities would be affected if the back pain got worse.

I decided that it was time to get more flexible, so I started to stretch a minimum of three times per week, concentrating mainly on my hamstrings and lower back. But my stretching routine actually ended up aggravating my lower back pain instead of alleviating the pain.

The mistake I made was that I was doing standing toe touches as part of my stretching routine. While this exercise improved my hamstring flexibility, it aggravated my lower back. I realized then that I needed to learn more about different stretching exercises and routines so that I could design an effective and safe program for improving my flexibility.

With the help of a great resource called The Stretching Handbook, I was able to design a flexibility program consisting of specific exercises that were effective and safe and that worked best for my individual needs. My flexibility program soon became just as important as my cardio and strength training programs were. Now, at 54 years old, I’m very flexible and I no longer suffer from nagging muscle strains or low back pain.

I’ve also discovered that there are several benefits of stretching in addition to increasing flexibility. Here’s an overview of these additional benefits:

1. Stretching increases blood flow to the muscles, which brings more nourishment to the muscles and removes more waste byproducts from the muscles. Increased blood flow also helps speed up recovery from muscle and joint injuries.

2. Stretching helps in maintaining good posture by keeping muscles from getting tight.

3. Stretching improves balance and coordination, which lowers the risk of falls.

4. Stretching helps lower blood pressure and improves artery function.

In conclusion, don’t make the same mistake that I did and overlook the importance of stretching. Flexibility is just as important as cardiovascular fitness, strength and body composition, so get started today on developing a more flexible body.

The Stretching Handbook will show you how to quickly and easily create an effective and safe stretching routine. Learn more about The Stretching Handbook by visiting

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