Now, That’s A Balancing Act!

4 Aug

by Phillip Tomlinson

If you haven’t seen her, you’ve most likely heard of her. 

But if you have seen her, then you’ve witnessed the way she often goes about retrieving things.  And, quite frankly, she can make you cringe while doing it.

And I suspect you may have even let out an unexpected “ow” or two when you see how she matter-of-factly does it. 

The “it” would be sliding, full leg splits, and the “things” would be tennis balls.

Yes, that’s how world famous Belgian tennis ace Kim Clijysters sometimes hits her returns — from a sliding full leg split.  The Road Runner couldn’t screech to a sliding halt with any more flare.

Now, that’s a balancing act!

For most of us, it simply hurts even looking at that.

But then again, for most of us, it could hurt doing less than that.  Much less than that.  And I mean simply by doing what would be normal everyday tasks that should literally be a breeze. 

I’m sure you would agree that picking up a fairly light object from the ground could be considered one of those breezy tasks.  Should be safe enough, right?

Think again.

You see, I know at least one guy who would disagree.  That’s because that’s exactly how he once sustained a muscle strain — performing one of those tasks that should be a breeze.  Bending over to pick up an empty carton box.   

Is this painting a picture? 

If it isn’t, here’s the deal: if stretching isn’t a part of your fitness routine, you will most certainly, day-by-day, lose your ability to perform simple tasks. 

And, yes, you may even hurt yourself trying to pick up an empty carton box.

While bending over seems simple enough, this could become a chore, especially for back pain sufferers.  And, in this case, one thing really does lead to another because chances are if your quadriceps, hamstrings and hip flexors are tight, you will also suffer tightness in your lower back and, consequently, pain.

But that’s not the whole picture.  Far from it.

If you are fairly young, and have been overlooking the importance of stretching, start looking down the road, because flexibility becomes doubly important as we age and the lack of it can spell big-time discomfort in various forms:  not being able to stand erect, loss of fluidity of movement, not being able to bend down, increase in muscle, tendon and joint injuries, and the list goes on.  Unless, of course, you kick a bad habit to the curb and begin working toward retaining the functional ability that could keep you active — going and going and going…, well, you know, much like that little guy the Eveready Energizer Bunny.

Heck, you may even find yourself  launching into one of those Clijysters splits.

Now, talk about aging gracefully!

For some valuable information on the benefits of stretching check out this link:  http://www.functional-fitness-facts.com/benefits-of-stretching.html

And for a great routine on how to stretch just about everything from your big toes to your hands, see the BodinSync Prescription below:

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BODINSYNC PRESCRIPTION

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  1. With your feet together, bend at your waist and try to touch your toes with your fingers.  Hold for about five seconds.
  2. Slowly straighten back up to your original position, hands at your sides.
  3. Step back with your right leg into a lunge. 
  4. Try arching your back slightly while twisting your torso toward your left leg and, at the same time, reaching your right hand across the side of your head and toward the sky.  See image at right.   
  5. Now, step back into the next lunge with your left leg to execute the stretch on the other side.

NOTE:  As you step back into the lunge and twist, try squeezing the glute of your back leg to instensify the stretch of your hip flexors.

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BODINSYNC ADVISORY

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If you are interested in trying out some fun and functional ways to improve your physical fitness, you’re welcome to send your E-mail to  nattydregs@aol.com to arrange for a free trial class.

 

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