Physical Training Oct 2003
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The Fit Life

By Glenn Archambault Glenn Archambault

Stretch Yourself

Answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the following statements:
I want to prevent workout injuries. 
I want to increase my range of motion. 
I want to increase my strength.
I want to become more flexible.
I want to relax after my workout.
I want to perform my daily activities better.

If you answered YES to any of the above questions then start stretching.

Yes, stretching. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that something so simple won’t be effective. Stretching is a vital part of any exercise program and should be considered as important as any other part of your health and fitness. It is a simple technique that plays an important role in your workout by increasing your range of motion and your strength, enhancing your flexibility, and by allowing you to become more relaxed.

Did you know that if you don’t stretch you’ll slowly lose your flexibility over time? However if you do stretch you can maintain and improve your flexibility.

Unfortunately many people do not put enough emphasis on stretching, or do not know the proper stretches for each muscle group that they work.

There is no good excuse not to stretch. You just have to be creative enough to find the time and realize the importance of it. So start stretching and remember: only stretch a muscle until you feel it but not to the point of soreness. Also try to hold the stretch for 5 to 10 seconds so you get the full benefit. As long as the muscle is warmed up, stretching can be done. Just remember: the intensity of the stretch needs to be altered depending on how warm the muscle is. I recommend stretching after one has completed a set of exercises that has focused on a particular muscle group. I also recommend doing a series of stretches at the end of an exercise routine.

To get you started here are five good stretches pertaining to five major muscle groups:

stretch 1 Stretch # 1 Quadriceps: Stand erect with your head level and spine in its proper upright position. Maintaining this posture, grab your right ankle with your right hand and pull your heel to your buttocks. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Repeat this procedure with the left leg. 
Stretch 2 Stretch #2 Hamstrings: Stand erect, facing a bench that is level with your waist or slightly lower. Keeping your knee perfectly straight, raise your left leg on to the bench and lean forward from the waist until a stretch is felt behind your elevated thigh. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Repeat with your right leg. 
Stretch 3 Stretch #3 Chest and Shoulders: Stand erect and reach behind your back with both arms. Interlock your fingers and straighten your elbows so that you feel a stretch in your chest. Hold this position for 10 seconds. 
Stretch 4 Stretch #4 Obliques: While standing, grasp the right wrist with the left-hand overhead, and then bend to the left. Hold for 10 seconds. Then grasp the left wrist with the right hand and bend to the right while holding for 10 seconds. 
Stretch 5 Stretch #5 Triceps: While standing, raise and bend one arm overhead. Grasp the elbow with the other hand and gently press back. Hold for 10 seconds, then switch arms and repeat. 

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Glenn is a Certified Personal Trainer who has been involved in sports and fitness all his life. After years in the corporate world he now devotes all his professional time to health and fitness.
Physical Training Oct 2003