Good afternoon. Today is Sunday August 9, 2020. This is my rest day. However, I put on some tunes this morning and stretched for 25 minutes. Stretching is on my mind. There is no way that I would be regaining my flexibility, if I were not stretching everyday! Although I have already written "Stretching is Good for the Soul", I truly believe that we can never have enough reminders to stretch, stretch and STRETCH some more! PD would love nothing better than to put its brand on our muscle movement. Don't let it! What follows is a blog entry I wrote a while back.
Stretching is the most important and loving thing you will ever do for your body and mind. Stretching works wonders! In order to gain and keep its many benefits, you must learn to be disciplined and consistent in your stretching routine. Have you ever observed a dog or cat’s behavior upon rising? If so, you surely have witnessed how they stretch as soon as they stand. Have you ever thought about why? First of all, there is no doubt it feels good. But more importantly, there are scientific reasons to why they do it. Stretching has many awesome benefits. Jacquelyn Brennan, a personal trainer and co-founder of Mindfuel Wellness C.S.C.S., (2015), believes that by warming up one’s body, blood flow is increased and joint fluidity expands. When this happens, one’s muscles are intertwined with movements that will be used during a workout. Although the stretches before and after a great Pilates workout may be different than those of a run, the value is always the same. Brennan states that tight muscles are synonymous with weak muscles. Fragile muscles may lead to postural issues and problems. Hmmmm. This sounds a lot like what PD aims to do too. Muscle stress also reduces blood flow which can result in muscle tension, knots, tightness and eventually injury. Once your muscles begin to compensate incorrectly, proper form disappears and injuries are very likely to occur.
Pilates is designed as a mind/body workout. Before you can do more intense stretching and core work during class, you must align your body with mindful stretching to prepare for more intensive stretching. Learning to stretch correctly and consistently will increase flexibility, loosen tight muscles, and can correct poor posture. Stretching can also help with back tightness and pain (Tara Romeo, certified clinical exercise physiologist, C.S.C.S.). Stretching after every workout can actually help your muscles bounce back quicker and stronger.
As a young girl, I was taught to stretch before and after ballet class. It became second nature to me to wake up in the morning and literally step out of bed and drop into a straddle stretch. This daily routine of mine has kept me flexible, strong, and injury free for years. I still stretch upon waking to begin the process of mindfulness. Similarly, after every Pilates class, I continue to stretch and breathe. This helps me to set my intentions for the day.
When stretching, it is important to incorporate your entire body, starting with your head (neck). I know the risks of not warming up correctly all too well. Years ago (I was 19 years old), I suffered a very painful foot injury, due to lack of stretching before class. Once I was injured, I began overcompensating by using the wrong muscles in my everyday life. Years of physical strain and pounding eventually took its toll on my left foot and lower leg. My Sports Medicine Dr. sent me to PT (Physical Therapy). Unfortunately, PT only made it worse, because of Dr. error in reading the X-rays. When I finally saw a Podiatrist and had more X-rays taken, it was confirmed that I had a broken heel and extensive damage to my shin, tendons, ligaments and ankle. Eventually, I underwent major invasive foot surgery (which was no picnic). I did heal, but it was a huge reminder of why stretching is crucial to maintaining muscle health. Stretching is helping me immensely to ward off PD symptoms of muscle tightness and poor posture. Remember, discipline and consistency while stretching are crucial in developing and maintaining flexibility, physical strength and for keeping your PD symptoms at bay. Start where you are and breathe! Any questions? Just ask! Have a beautiful week ahead.
PS..... Do NOT attempt to design your own stretching routine without consulting with someone you trust first. This could be your Dr., PT Specialist, or word of mouth (but always check out references and history of the said person). Be sure that this person is well versed in PD.
*Fetters, K. A. (2015, August). The benefits of stretching before and after a workout. Shape Magazine, 2-4. Retrieved from Shape.com*
💘 This is Me! This picture is over a year ago. Notice my right thumb.... At that time, it was crooked. I was unable to straighten it 💘