by: Aaron Parker
Many times we go through each day not stretching like we should because either we forget to after a hard workout, or we make it up in our minds that we do not have enough time in a day to get the proper stretching we need. However, with the appropriate time management, we can find creative ways to fit stretching in to our busy days. It is important to make enough time on a daily basis to incorporate stretching into our daily routines. Otherwise, we may start waking up with what’s called “morning stiffness” overtime. Stretching daily can improve flexibility. It can also lower the chances of various injuries, reduce tension in your muscles, increase the range of motion in your joints, enhances muscle coordination, and increase the blood flow in different parts of your body. Those are just the physical improvements. Let me take it a step further and talk about yoga.
Yoga is much more than the practice of exercises and breathing, however, it is viewed as a “tradition of lifestyle, health, and spirituality,” with practices integrated into daily life to create balance, health, and harmony. As with any physical practice that involves movement and positioning, yoga postures carry the risk of injury if performed inappropriately or too vigorously by individuals who are unprepared or limited in any way. Potential risks of yoga practice also include overstretching, lower back strain, and knee, wrist, or shoulder injuries from improper positioning and extended length of the pose. This is why it’s always best to have a trained and certified yoga instructor teach you the proper techniques to reduce the risk of injury. Technique equals safety.
One great benefit of yoga is that there are modifications made for almost every movement/exercise. This can help improve safety and decrease injury risk. In other words, it is a workout based on individuality, meaning that you will be able to perform the movements regardless of your level of flexibility, because it can be modified to your needs. While many people believe yoga is only for a certain type of person, it is for everyone—from beginner exercisers to athletes of all genders and body types. Yoga can provide many health benefits for those who participate. If you are thinking that yoga may not be for you, do not knock it until you try it! During a yoga session, there are various poses that you will perform and most of them have modifications to where everyone can do them. A few of those poses are: “the screaming pigeon”, “child’s pose”, “the chair, and “the balancing cat”. Yes yoga has complex terms such as these to help give participants a visual of the movement they are about to do. Yoga should be performed up to 2 times per week to see results over the span of time. You’ll feel so much better after doing it. What have you got to lose?
Fouladbakhsh, J. (2011). Yoga. Oncology, 25(2), 40-45.
Kokkonen, J., Nelson, A., & Cornwell, A. (1998). Acute Muscle Stretching Inhibits Maximal Strength Performance. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport., 69(4), 411-415.