Actually, exercise stretches are not really exercises, but most people think of them that way. Exercise is working and strengthening a muscle, and stretching is helping the muscle become more flexible. The benefits of exercise stretches are improved flexibility, a good posture and balance and a feel-good healthy attitude - no pills needed.
Can't find a specific stretch? Look to no further, here we have a full range of
Illustrated Stretching Exercises
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Have you ever watched a dog or cat waking up?
The very first thing they do is to stretch. They know the
Benefits of Stretching It is a normal natural and instinctive part of their lives. But, we have lost the instinct. Now, we have to consciously work on it. Just a few pointers to think about........ If you stretch when a muscle is cold, you may injure yourself, so warm up a little first. Walking is fine with your arms swinging, or low impact exercise for a couple of minutes. It takes time to lengthen muscle fibres safely and it feels sooo good when you get it right. It’s all about FOCUS.
Hold exercise stretches for up to a minute not less than 20 seconds. Mentally check if you’re feeling tension else where in the body and RELAX!!
Your mind-body connection: Tune into your body and try to focus on a particular muscle. If you can imagine, in your mind's eye, that particular muscle, you’ll get much greater benefit from the stretch. As Joseph Pilates says “Put the mind in the muscle”.
Relax and BREATHE: Be aware of your breathing and definitely DO NOT hold your breath. Breathe nice and evenly. You may try to imagine breathing in and out of the muscle that you are working on - sounds weird, but it actually works! It helps relax that part of the body.
You may feel that you are more flexible on one side than the other. Don’t worry, but simply be aware of this fact. For instance, if you’re working on your quads, and the left side is tight, it means that something else maybe going on. Certainly do a little more quad stretch on that side, but also learn a psoas muscle stretch (a deeper hip flexor). There may be another muscle which is attached to the same joint that is causing the problem. Be mindful though, that if the problem persists, check it out with your health practitioner.
When do I do my exercise stretches? There is often debate over when to stretch. In pilates, we warm up first, work the muscle, then stretch it. If the exercise is more strenuous (running, boxing etc), you'll notice the benefits of stretching before as well as after exercise.
Different sports and activities require different exercise stretches, but really, you will enjoy working on as many muscle groups as you have time for. ALL THE FOLLOWING LINKS WILL TAKE YOU TO A GREAT STRETCH If you’re a runner, you’ll focus on QUADS, CALVES, PSOAS, ILIOTIBIAL BAND and HAMSTRINGS.
If you play golf, you’ll focus on SHOULDERS, HIPS, BICEPS and TRICEPS. All of these stretches you find in
and If you slave all day over a computer, your focus will have to be your NECK, SHOULDERS and BACK. You'll find all these stretches clicking
MENU for Illustrated Stretching Exercises
Two big NO’s - No pain; No bounce: Don’t fight through any pain barrier. Go to the point where you can feel the boundary between comfort and discomfort – a mild tension. It’s your body, only you can feel what is right. It almost feels a natural thing to do sometimes, to bounce a knee for instance, if you stretching your adductors (inner thigh). But, don’t. It won’t do you any good.
BELOW you have access to our online Correct Posture Test which will help you to discover exactly what stretches will be of benefit to you. This is available when you receive for our monthly newsletter. The NEWSLETTER, (called NEWSY PILATES STUFF), provides useful illustrated information about exercises and stretches, a little bit of gossip, and video stretches - and of course it's FREE. The form below is a simple one and requires little time to complete.
To stretch is to care for your body. Give it the time to heal. A flexible body will be a joy to be in!!