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Benefits of Stretching Exercise for Health and Fitness

Updated on September 2, 2018
Miebakagh57 profile image

Miebakagh57 is retired, Chief Administrative Officer. I am passionate about aerobic exercises, food, nutrition, reading, writing. and health

Introducing Stretching Exercise

What is a stretching exercise? It is a technique that improves the flexibility of the muscles, joints, and bones. Moreover, it enables greater agility of the muscles and joints at natural angles. Stretching elongates muscles and also increases the elasticity of the muscles. Stretching exercises are recommended for every physical workout. Before you exercise, jog or play games. Stretch after an exercise or jogging session.

Stretching is preparing the muscles and joints for the work ahead in other to lose few pounds. At the same time, it is testing how far your muscles can go. One certainty is how fit your muscles are. The leg muscles and the heart, for example, are their freedom from pain and tension before doing an exercise?

Stretching

Stretch your leg muscles before brisk walking and jogging
Stretch your leg muscles before brisk walking and jogging | Source

Stretching Hints

Stretching exercises are to be done with care.

1. Stretch slowly and relax.

2. Do not force yourself to do a stretch.

3. It will bounce back and you get injured on your muscles.

4. Stretch only to the point of mild tension.

5. If you feel a pain, stop.

6. Always breath in and out at every stretch.

Hold a stretch for a minimum of 20 to 30 seconds. 60 seconds is optimal for senior citizens. A respite of 10 seconds is okay.


Thought For Foods

Before you stretch, think of a simple nutrition.

  • Suck an orange or drink 'dilute' real orange juice, or your favorites fruits and juices.
  • Eating dried dates and grapes will greatly improve your muscle strength due to its mineral and vitamin contents.
  • Drink a glass of sugarcane juice or chew the sugarcane. Sugarcane juice will provide you with enough energy.

But never eat a heavy meal. After stretching and exercise sliced a lime or lemon into a glass of water and sip slowly.

Eat a balanced high protein meal after exercises and jogging when you are hungry. This increases your metabolic rate and burns unwanted flesh to lose weight. Eating fresh coconut meat is good. You should restrict your diet to complex carbohydrates 10%, lean protein 40% and polyunsaturated fats 10% The rest is fruits and vegetables. Limit fatty kinds of seafood and animal fats to 10g. Get more from seeds and nuts that are satisfying. Though the hunting-gathering man with a slender lean body eats animal fats, Tuloh wrote that it occurs on the average of one or two times in the week. This is affirmed by Truswell and other authorities. Eat less saturated animal and synthetic fats.

The Missing Relation

Lately, a University don accessed the links between food, health, and medicine. She states that the right food choice is the answer to weight loss. She stressed that traditional recipes deliver the right ingredients. These contain "lots of fruits, vegetables, and fibers." They are low in calories. In a paper, "The food and Medicine wedlock: A Biochemist's search for suitable indigenous brides," Professor Ifeoma I. Ijeh, a Biochemical Nutrition and Toxicology don argued that "the relationship between food and medicine was as old as Hippocrates...who made the proposal thousands of years ago." Accordingly, right food choices and habits are good for maintaining good health. On the other hand, the "desire for packages and synthetic foods" is a contribution to poor diet, health risks, and diseases. These diseases are non-communicable and result in premature death. These diseases are heart-related. They include increased weight, gain in body mass index, increase in waist-line, storing fats under the folds of the body. It is only stretching, exercising and sporting games couple with a low-calorie diet that can solve the challenge of weight loss.

Diet

To lose sufficient weight, you need to exercise regularly. Your energy intake must be lower than the energy expended. If you are taking a higher calorie diet with minimal or no exercise at all, then, you are bound to retain your body mass index. No wonder, the weight of sedentary persons seems to be on the upside. They got their meals from the fast food outlet. Their consumed more calorie than is necessary. So "run, jump, walk," writes Tulloh.

Both Tulloh and Trustwell made a field study of the Kung Bushmen of the Kalahari in1968 respectively. They noted the nutritional partner of the tribe and mobility. They observed that the bushmen diet consists of leafy greens, seeds, fruits, herbs, very little cereals (concentrated carbohydrates), roots, and spices. They include some meat and fish. "The protein intake," says Tulloh, "was well above the recommended daily minimum of the Food and Agricultural Organization...what was particularly impressive was their range of diet. The tribe used more than eighty different kinds of plants for food, most of those are used very infrequently...one-third of the total food was meat..." Varied your diet with low-calorie fruits and vegetables, including low fats and high protein foods.

Meat, Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and should be varied and increased in a diet.
Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and should be varied and increased in a diet.

Aerobic Fitness

"Running a long distance at a moderate pace is an aerobic exercise"-Wikipedia. Instead of running, you can jog slowly a long distance up to a mile and back to lose unhealthy flesh.

Why You Are Not Not Exercising

Why people will not exercise according to Tulloh in Naturally Fit, and Professor Truswell in his ABC of Nutrition range from eating 'junk' foods, staying conditioned to the TV set and laptop, going shopping with cars, bus, or underground for a distance less than a mile, and taking the lift or elevator.

They observed further that the so-called cardiovascular diseases are unheard of among the Bushmen. They also explain that the tribesmen exercise much by hunting animals for up to 2 hours. Dancing, re-enacting warfare and hunting expeditions. "Beyond Europe and Anglo-Celtic North Americans," writes Truswell, "they are almost a pandemic of type 2 diabetic occurring in some communities that may have earlier experienced undernutrition but are now sedentary and eating refined high energy western foods." Truswell then advises people to began walking for 30 minutes daily, travel by foot, walk all the way to shops, school, and work, take a standing position to watch the streaming TV, all these to condition and walk the legs. Tulloh reminds us that "if the car breaks down, the thought of a two-mile walk is not a problem." He then cites the cases of Edward Payson Weston at the age of 70 walked from New York to Los Angeles 7000 miles and back. Larry Lewis at 100 years was jogging 5 miles regularly. And, Christopher Iordanidis 95 run a marathon race of 26 miles in 6 hours and 42 minutes.

Static Isometric Stretch

Isometrics will increase and strengthen your muscle and make you lose unhealthy flesh
Isometrics will increase and strengthen your muscle and make you lose unhealthy flesh | Source

Program Jogging Exercise

Make a plan to jog three times weekly Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Choice the days must suitable for the exercises. Moderate jogging exercise of 45 minutes including stretching can be done. Start with brisk walking around a football field three times daily for four weeks. This conditioned the legs and heart muscle. Then you can start your stretching exercises. Doing 5 minutes of stretching and exercising, followed by 30 minutes jogging is a good idea. Jog slowly and leisurely. Start with less than half a mile, then increased the workload (distance) after six months to half a mile, than one mile. Here you will begin to jog three times in the month (one mile a week). Slow leisurely jogging has the better advantage over running at this time. We are considering the opinion of losing weight here. So, jog slowing and briskly for a mile and back. Do not worry about the timing. The longer the distance, the slower you go, and the healthier, stronger, and fitter you become. On the average, it takes 1 hour 45 minutes for a 60-years old man to jog a mile and back.

You should couple your jogging with brisk walking. As you jog for 10 minutes, slow down and take a brisk walk for 2 to 3 minutes and resume jogging. This trick will adjust your body. Breathe in and out during your jogging and walking exercises. All these help losses some weight monthly.

Jogging

A man jogging to loss weight, for strength, fitness, and endurance
A man jogging to loss weight, for strength, fitness, and endurance | Source

Brisk Walking

Regular brisk walking can help you loss weight
Regular brisk walking can help you loss weight

Modern Scholastic Studies

Many study and research have been done on stretching and exercises for weight loss. All these studies have one thing in common: the effect of stretching workouts. It is noted that regular stretching and exercise lead to a significant loss of weight.

The fact is you must burn more calorie that you eat and drink to get your weight down. You also have to cut out the calories you are eating and drinking. Thirdly, low-calorie diets for weight loss has to take the place of fatty-junk foods. These low-calorie diets are to be prepared at home. Fourth, you have to stretch and exercise to lose some pounds seriously.



Push Up

A young woman doing push up stretching exercise. Doing 20 push ups and down result in lose of weight.
A young woman doing push up stretching exercise. Doing 20 push ups and down result in lose of weight. | Source

Stretching Exercises

Stretching exercises are flexibility exercises. Its importance lies in giving the body more freedom to move at any natural angle and to lose some weight. Some men approaching middle age are unable to wear pants, boxer or trousers standing. I recalled my father and other elderly men doing this past 50 years when I was just a boy. It is common for many men.

As you age, the body can lose its muscle elasticity and thus freedom of movement in the joints. Sitting in a chair, you may find it hard to bend down and tie your shoe because the back or backbone is stiff. Putting key into a keyhole and turning it is a challenge. In effect, it means the body has lost its elasticity. (You have gained some weigh, right?) All these and many other signs of unable to do minor social activities is a signal of muscle atrophy. Weight loss is “a conscious effort to improve an actual or perceived overweight or obese state.” Intentionally losing weight to improve your fitness level and health, will lessen pain and increase mobility in the joints. According to Wiki, “Weight loss occurs when the body is expending more energy in work and metabolism than it is absorbing from food or other nutrients.” For this reason, it is good that you take on balanced low-calorie diets, after your moderate intensity stretching exercises routines. To achieve long-time weight loss, and stay healthy, balanced your diet always and exercise thrice every week. Program regular exercises ensure you do not gain unhealthy body mass again.


High Plank

High plank stretches the core and trims the fingure
High plank stretches the core and trims the fingure | Source

Mountain Climbing

Flexible exercise will increase the range of motion of the joints
Flexible exercise will increase the range of motion of the joints | Source

Workouts

A young woman learning stretching exercise
A young woman learning stretching exercise | Source

Lose Weight and Keep Fit Exercises

Weight Lose For Women

Dynamic Stretching

Stretching exercises varied. Dynamic stretching has the better advantage over the others. One feature is the freedom of movement in the muscles and joints. They also give you the ability to carry on daily physical activities like wearing your clothes, tying your shoes and necktie, and turning a key in the keyhole. They help you reach the object on a shelf. Flexible dynamic stretching exercises will stretch the neck and upper body; will stretch the shoulder and arm; will stretch the chest, back, and ankle; and will stretch the thigh, hip, and calf. In addition, it created balance when you rightly stand on one leg for 30 to 60 seconds; and then the other. Balance can be further realized by brisk walking. If you are over-weight, take a brisk walk back home after the working hours to lose some weigh monthly.

Stretching Compare

Workouts
Balance
Flexibility
Weigh Loss
Stretching
Yes
Yes, and varied
Yes
Aerobic
Yes
Yes
Yes
Anaerobic
Yes
Yes, limited
Yes
Plyometrics
Yes
Various and complicated
Yes
Stretching Exercises Compared

One Leg stand

One leg stand stretching exercises can create balance in the elderly and prevent a fall
One leg stand stretching exercises can create balance in the elderly and prevent a fall | Source

How Long to Hold a Stretch?

"A study done in 2001 amongst 60 healthy people (mean age 84.7, SD=5.6) with tight hamstrings compared stretching of the hamstrings held for 15, 30 and 60 seconds over a 6 week period.

The results of this study indicated that a sixty-second stretch was more effective than a thirty-second stretch within this group of elderly individuals. Previous studies with a younger population suggested that a sixty-second stretch was just as effective as a thirty-second stretch."-Durren Warburten

7 Stretching Exercises for Computer Geeks and Sedentary Persons

Do 5 repetitions of the stretches and take 10 seconds respite for each. These can help lose some weight monthly

  1. Thigh stretch: stand straight on the floor or ground. Walk from one point and back to the starting point with your toes. This will stretch the calf and the inner thigh.
  2. Hand stretch: you can stand to do it. Hold out your hands in front of you. Open and close your fingers repeatedly. Strengthen the fingers and hands.
  3. Neck stretch #1: stand with your hands by your side. Turn your head to one side at 90o and return the head to the starting position after 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side at the same angle of 90o for 30 seconds.
  4. Neck stretch #2: with the same position as in #1 above, tilt your head sideways towards the right shoulder and hold for 30 seconds and return the head to the starting position. Tilt the head on the opposite side for another 30 seconds.
  5. Neck stretch #3: still with the same starting position as the above two neck stretches, this time you tilt the head forward to stretch back of neck for 30 seconds; and release it.
  6. Shoulders, middle back, arms, hands, fingers, and wrists: interlaced your fingers and stretch out your arm just parallel to your head. The palms should be turn out and hold for 30 seconds.
  7. Middle of the backstretch: standing with your hands on your hips, twists your torso at the waist at the right side for 30 seconds; return to starting position and do so on the left side for another 30 seconds. Your knees should be kept slightly flexed.

High Intensive Exercises To Loss Weight

Here are some exercises that can help you lose some weight. Doing these workouts 2 or 3 times in the week gives good results. You can combine brisk walking and jogging, for example. Each exercise will take 30 minutes after 5 minutes of stretching. Some like the jumping-jack can be done indoors or on your premise.

1. Brisk walking.

2. Swimming.

3. Planks.

4. Squat.

5. Rope skipping or rope jumping.

6. Butt kick.

7. Push Ups.

8. Mountain climber.

9. Side planks.

10. Jogging.

11. Running.

12. Boat Pose.


.




Recovery

After stretching and exercise, do some recovery.

  • Walk 30 yards and back.
  • Jog slowly for 5 minutes.
  • Do some dynamic exercises: push-ups and down, jumping-jack, straight leg kick, and knee to chest slowly
  • Swim for 5 minutes slowly, and do the back float for 3 minutes.

Seniors Citizens Stretch Daily

Stretching daily is what is good for a senior past 40 years. How long does it take such a one to stretch? You need just 5 -10 minutes for simple work-outs. If a senior does not stretch daily, all the body muscles will begin to degenerate. A balance between extensors and flexors will not be achieved and properly coordinate. The result will be bad posture, round back, and walking while bending forward. Seniors need only 60 seconds to hold a stretch, for example, one-leg stands to maintain balance and coordination.

Seniors Maintain Flexibility Always

When one aged, mobility in the joints and muscles reduces. Hence, with loss of flexibility comes a reduction in daily activities. But research studies have pointed out that when persons improved flexibility, their way of life also improves. If a senior does not stretch daily to maintain the flexibility of the muscles, they are the very like hood that range of motion in the joints and muscles will soon come to a state of inactivity or a reduction. For this reason, taking a 60 minutes walk daily is suggested. Couple this with deep breathing always.

Sitting Long Without Stretching

Sitting long without a stretch can wreck your back
Sitting long without a stretch can wreck your back | Source

Concluding Remark

Do some exercise and jogging sessions without stretching for a week. Take one week break. Stretch and do the same exercises for a week. At what point do you think pains occurred? You should test the challenge yourself and see results for yourself. My conclusion is that pains occurred without stretching and if you overdo the stretches and exercises. Try the test, and good health to you!

References

1. ABC of Nutrition, by A. Stewart Truswell, BMJ Books, London.

2. Wikipedia weight loss

3. Naturally Fit, by Bruce Tulloh, Arthur Baker Ltd, London.

4. Stretching exercises

5. Nutrition: A Consumers Guide to Good Eating, by Sheila Bingham, Corgi Books, London.

6. For the Fox News story: Nigerian Sunday Telegraph, Sunday, July 29, 2018.

7. Nigerian Sunday Telegraph, Sunday, August 19, 2018.

© 2018 Miebakagh Fiberesima

I have put in my best in this story. Any good suggestion is welcomed. However, the story will do no one good without applying the tricks. Thank you.

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    • Miebakagh57 profile imageAUTHOR

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      9 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      If you do not stretch daily, you are asking for trouble for your body. Animals stretch daily. Their do it waking up from sleep or slumber. their doit before relaxing. Their do it returning from a hunt. Their made it an habit before anything else.

    • Miebakagh57 profile imageAUTHOR

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      9 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      If you do not stretch daily, you are asking for trouble for your body. Animals stretch daily. Their do it waking up from sleep or slumber. their doit before relaxing. Their do it returning from a hunt. Their made it an habit before anything else.

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