Exercise and Health

Stretching important when exercising

Exercise and Health_exercise.jpg Studies have documented the advantages of different kinds of exercise and although the benefits of stretching are less well studied, the positive results of this activity make it an important component of any exercise regimen.

Briefly noted, stretching provided these benefits:

  1. Increases blood flow.
  2. Increases muscle elasticity.
  3. Increases range of motion.
  4. Improves flexibility.
  5. Eases movement.
  6. Helps loosen muscles in the arms, shoulders, back, chest, stomach, thighs, buttocks and calves.
  7. Aids in prevention of injury and muscle strain.
  8. Can improve performance.

Some general stretching guidelines:

  1. Start stretching slowly.
  2. Don't bounce while stretching.
  3. Avoid violent movements.
  4. Hold the stretched position.
  5. Don't overdo.
  6. Stretch 5 to 15 minutes before (warm-up) and after (cool-down) exercising.

Many mistakenly think they are too frail or too old. Not so! Any kind of physical activity can be good for you. Regular, brisk walking can help lower risk of heart disease or depression. Housework, stair climbing or calisthenics can increase stamina and strength, along with self-confidence.

Strength training such as weightlifting can slow or stop muscle and bone loss and may actually increase muscle strength and mass. It may slow or prevent osteoporosis and may lower the risk of falls which can cause hip fractures or other injuries, as well as improve balance. Regular activities such as running and swimming raise heart rate and may reduce artery stiffening, which can otherwise contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Consistent physical activity may reduce the likelihood of developing adult onset diabetes or at least allow for better control, because exercise increases the ability to regulate blood glucose.

Be sure to make the dynamic duo of stretching and exercise a part of your regular Life Plus path to maintaining your physical health and well-being.

ANOTHER REASON TO KEEP EXERCISING -- Studies show that the blood of people who exercise on a regular basis is less prone to clot (i.e. heart attack) than those who don't exercise. Exercise seems to boost the body's natural clot busters. There's no need to exercise daily, but be consistent at an exercise plan. The clot preventing benefits disappeared when the regular exercise program stopped.

KEEP UP THE EXERCISE -- Your body releases additional growth hormone when you exercise aerobically. This may help slow the weakening of bones and muscles caused by the natural loss of this hormone as you age.

GET YOUR FLUIDS -- Drink six to eight glasses of fluids throughout the day, whether you are thirsty or not. About 15 to 30 minutes before exercising, drink 4 to 8 oz. of fluids. While exercising, drink 4 to 8 oz. of fluids at 15-minute intervals. After exercising, drink at least 8 to 16 oz. of fluids.