Stretch It Out
Stretching is so good for you, but so
often neglected. Most of us sit at a desk for 8 or more hours per day.
Combine that with the time we spend commuting, eating, and watching TV,
and realize that we spend the majority of the day seated. How many of
us sit with proper posture: spine tall, feet flat on the floor? All
this sitting can create some seriously tight muscles. And, what results
from tight muscles? You guessed it: low back pain and poor posture.
Two commonly tight muscles are the hamstrings (on the back of your thigh) and the pecs (or chest.) If you train with me, you're used to stretching your hamstrings at the end of your session. One cue I continually repeat is "straighten your knee." In order for your hamstrings to truly stretch, your knee must be very straight. It's more important to keep your knee straight than it is to touch your toes. Take a look at the picture. That is one way to stretch your hamstrings. Another way, is to lay on your back and lift one leg as high as you can. Place your hands behind the thigh or calf to support the leg.
The chest muscles get tight because we sit with our shoulders rounded forward. As you read this, think about gently pulling your shoulder blades together. When you do that, you should feel yourself getting taller and expanding your rib cage. Stretch your chest by placing your hands behind your head and opening your elbows wide. And remember, this overlooked component of fitness can be done anywhere, anytime.