If you skip stretching before your workout, why? Is it because you don’t have the time? Is it because you don’t think it’s all that important or valuable to your routine? Is it because you’re not exactly sure what to do?
First, let me say it is worth it. As we age, we lose flexibility and become much more prone to injury. A consistent stretching program will maintain and even improve your current level of flexibility. Time shouldn’t be an issue: You can get a good stretch in less than five minutes.
And if you’re not sure what to do, take a look at my stretching routine, which was featured in my book 20 Years Younger (I essentially follow level 3 of the fitness routine). Five times a week, I do the following moves:
• Middle and lower back stretch
Sit on a chair with your knees apart. Hold your arms out in front of you and stretch them forward while you gradually bend your torso forward, allowing your back to round out. Your arms may be between your knees and your hands should be touching the floor if possible. You should feel a gentle tension in your upper and/or middle back.
Hold each stretch for five seconds then relax for five seconds; repeat two more times. Remember to breathe through each stretch. And don’t forget: It’s best to stretch after you’ve done a warm up, like jogging in place or jumping rope.
The other two days of the week, I use a stretching apparatus—Precor’s 240i Stretch Trainer. They have a wonderful illustrated stretching routine right on the apparatus. If you can afford your own or you have access to one at your gym or fitness center, I highly recommend it. It has added a deep stretch quality to my routine.
What does your stretching routine look like?