Physical movement is life’s most simplistic gift, but severely underrated. Only when movement is restricted or taken away do we begin to see its high value. When our freedom to move declines, it hurts in the most simplistic or private situations so we tend to “deal” and oftentimes ignore.
Movement can be simple, like bending down and tying your shoe laces without heaving. Movement can be complex and highly scientific like trying to identify the sweet spot for hurling a golf ball in the precise direction. No matter where we are on that continuum, movement is highly necessary.
Stretching is a vital tool to the value of movement, life and ultimately performance. It is a short time where we purposefully take the body and “pull” it. Stretching is multi-faceted:
- It prepares the body for action
- Assists in recovery
- Maintains current movement and
- Slowly allows for freer, controlled movement
Basic stretches can easily mould into our daily lives and routines. The best time to take a slow stretch is not only after a workout, but also after a warm bath/ shower. Because the body is normally well warmed up, including 3-4 basic stretches can ensure a more invigorated, relaxed and positive demeanour.
If you are not accustomed to stretching at all, we challenge you to try these basic stretches after your next bath/ shower and see how you feel.
- For each stretch, make sure you are standing firm on the floor with feet slightly wider than the shoulders. Do not lock your knees, but keep them relaxed.
- Take a deep breath in and slowly breathe out as you move into the stretch position
- Hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds while breathing normally
- Relax then move onto the next stretch.
- This entire routine will take only 60 seconds to complete
- Stand tall: with knees relaxed, stretch your arms up as high as you can to reach the ceiling
- Stand taller: if you are comfortable to do this, roll up onto your toes and then stretch up with your arms to touch the ceiling again
- Reach side to side: put one arm down and stretch the other one over your head to the other side. Then do the other side
- Reach forward: using a wall and keeping your back as straight as possible, reach forward and put your hands flat on the wall. Keep knees slightly bent
To gain a deeper understanding into the principles and implementation of stretching far beyond the shower, join our next Stretching Workshop presented by Derek Archer.
Let’s endeavour to maintain our physical movement, without restriction.