Have you ever noticed that when you are flexible with your plans, life feels easier? Our bodies are like that, too. When we have physical flexibility, we move fluidly and easily in everything we do.
Stretching after strength training or aerobic exercise helps loosen muscles that may have tightened, balancing your body. Stretching on its own is great any time for improving your range of motion and increasing circulation, allowing more blood flow to all body parts including your brain. With regular stretching, you can even improve your posture and relax your mind.
You can begin a stretching program at any age. Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett recommends talking with your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen, especially if you are new to physical activity or are resuming after a long break.
Stretch easily and gently, only until you feel slight tension
Stop before you feel pain
Breathe deeply, exhaling as you relax into each stretch
Good times to stretch:
First thing in the morning
After sitting or standing for long periods
When you feel stiff or anxious
While watching television or sitting at your desk
Before falling asleep
Yoga – Dating back thousands of years, yoga continues to be a popular stretching program, and ranges from very gentle and slow forms to more rigorous power yoga that incorporates balance and strength with flexibility.
Tai Chi or Qigong – Also dating back thousands of years, tai chi and qigong are series of slow, gentle motions that circulate the body’s energy while loosening joints. Most movements can be done sitting or standing.
Pilates – Created in the early 1900s, Pilates is a system of exercises that increase flexibility, strength and coordination through mind-body control. While often done with machines, simpler version of Pilates can be done using only a floor mat.
Gymnastics or Swimming – More vigorous activities including gymnastics and swimming allow muscles to stretch and elongate while boosting your heart rate.
However you choose to stretch, try to do it three times per week – your body and mind will love you for it!
Judi Sheppard Missett, who turned her love of jazz dance into a worldwide dance exercise phenomenon, founded the Jazzercise dance fitness program in 1969. She has advanced the business opportunities of women and men in the fitness industry by growing the program into an international franchise business that today, hosts a network of 7,800 instructors teaching more than 32,000 classes weekly in 32 countries.
The workout program, which offers a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, cardio box and Latin style movements, has positively affected millions of people worldwide. Benefits include increased cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility, as well as an overall "feel good" factor. Additional Jazzercise programs include Junior Jazzercise, Jazzercise Lite and Personal Touch. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.