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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-24-2012, 01:14 AM Thread Starter
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Stretching, Flexibility

I'm curious what all you excersisers do, if anything, in regard to stretching.

For a long time, I was obsessed with playing basketball. It can be a real addiction, where you just play at every opportunity, and play to exhaustion.

I did that for a long time, without stretching, then found out at about 48 years old, that doing a lot of hard running exercise, without being serious about stretching, can mess you up.

I had severe muscle spasms in my right hip, in my piriformis muscle, which is a hip rotator muscle. It lies directly on top of the sciatic nerve and if it spasms, it can put pressure on that nerve and create excruciating pain, enough to put you right down on the floor.

I took me about 3 years to get that straightened out. First with massage therapy, then stretching and flexibility classes (pilates and yoga).

It wasnt't just those hip muscles that were tight. All the muscles in my leg were very tight, without any length or flexibility. This was causing lower back pain, also.

And very tight muscles can also throw off your gait when running or even walking, which can cause stress on the knee joints.

Getting stretched out took awhile, and I never got as limber as the long time pilates and yoga people, but getting closer to normal flexibility at least helped a lot deal in being able to stay active.

I'm in my mid-50s now, and don't play basketball anymore, but still do a lot of walking and hiking, and keeping at least somewhat stretched out helps a lot with that too.

But stretching is a serious thing, and takes some time, effort, and learning techniques, if you are going to make gains. You can't do a half dozen toe touches and expect that to help. It just doesn't work that way.

The pilates and yoga classes helped a lot. You have an instructor, and you follow along, and you do these exercises for about an hour, twice a week. If you do that, you'll see progress.

Another thing that helps a lot is using foam rollers, which are just simple firm foam cylinders, that you roll your leg and hip mucsles across. This acts kind of like massage, loosening up the muscles some before you do the stretching exercises.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-24-2012, 02:01 AM
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Re: Stretching, Flexibility

This is one of the great things I learned from p90x... great stretches!

I was getting shin splints from running, and with some of the stretches I learned in p90x and also some other google searches I got over that before it turned into something major.

I don't really stretch before exercising, but I always try to stretch out afterwards. I warm up by walking (if I am running), or quick sets of push ups and sit ups (if I'm lifting). I think it helps with soreness, etc.

It just feels good to do!

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-27-2012, 01:43 PM
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Re: Stretching, Flexibility

Quote:
I'm curious what all you excersisers do, if anything, in regard to stretching.
I have a long history of powerlifting, bodybuilding and martial arts. Now that I'm in my 40s, the damage I did to my body is catching up, and I've found yoga to help a great deal.

I bought a book and learned some of the sequences and stretches. They are not all intuitive (e.g., you aren't going to get the same benefit from touching your toes) and as you mentioned, to make any progress it takes dedication and time. I dedicate @ 30 minutes, 3-4 times a week.

Yoga has a stigma associated with it, especially for guys. Folks think it means you're wearing spandex and sitting around w/your hands folded smelling incense. You try to buy a book on it, there are hundreds to choose from and many don't necessarily focus on what you may want to get out of it.

I realized I needed to work on flexibility and spent some time in a book store looking at dozens of books, tossed out the more spiritual/meditation types with pages of philosophy and found one that was more focused on explaining the stretches and how to do them. I have found with some satisfaction that people I know who have had, or are close to getting knee replacements- the stretches their therapists tell them they need to do are all covered in my yoga routine. It's best to do them as a preventative measure, before it gets to knee replacement time!

I've also found it helps a great deal in preventing aches/pains associated with hiking and especially during bow season when I'm packing way back at least 1-2 times a week (and hopefully dragging something back out!). It also keeps me limber as I teach my son some of the basics of grappling/jiu-jitsu. I'm not 20 anymore, but my son is amazed at what the old man can still do I'd like to keep it that way!

BH

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-28-2012, 08:25 PM
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Re: Stretching, Flexibility

Another thing that I learned from P90X was the Yoga aspect of it. There is a Yoga workout on DVD that is about 45 minutes of push ups, sun salutations, upward/downward dog, warrior/reverse warrior positions... it is an INSANE workout. You are covered in sweat in under 5 minutes. Then it goes into another 45 mintues of stretches. Just like BH said, I went in thinking it was some girly workout too, but within 10 minutes I couldn't believe how hard it was!

Makes you feel awesome after doing it too! Just very stretched out, and relaxed.


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-31-2012, 11:14 AM
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Re: Stretching, Flexibility

I have found that almost anything I can do to stretch joints and muscle is good. Actually,I base all my stretching on karate stretches I learned many years ago. Never liked karate - but the stretching has stayed with me. Anything your mind can create that opens joints, stretches muscles and keeps you limber is good for your body and mind. One word of advise: do not get into a rut on your stretching. Be creative and don't overdo it.

Good night Chesty, wherever you are......
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-31-2012, 12:10 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Stretching, Flexibility

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Originally Posted by jimsdad
I have found that almost anything I can do to stretch joints and muscle is good. Actually,I base all my stretching on karate stretches I learned many years ago. Never liked karate - but the stretching has stayed with me. Anything your mind can create that opens joints, stretches muscles and keeps you limber is good for your body and mind. One word of advise: do not get into a rut on your stretching. Be creative and don't overdo it.
What are karate stretches like? Is there anything on the web that gives a good introduction?
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-31-2012, 02:24 PM
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Re: Stretching, Flexibility

Well, I never thought of looking on the web. I just remembered what we were tought as warm up exercises. Kind of hard to describe verbally. My brother, now don't laugh, took dance lessons when we were in high school and he uses the stretching routine he learned as his warm up to this day. I kid him about this, but not too much, when we have a few beers. He sometimes can't take a joke.

Good night Chesty, wherever you are......
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-10-2012, 12:19 PM
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Re: Stretching, Flexibility

I would venture to say stretches you do in karate would be very similar to yoga stretches.

I took Jiu Jitsu classes for several years and suffered initially from a lack of flexibility. The instructor would have us do various basis stretches for warmup, and I asked him if there was anything else we could do- he said yes, yoga. He practiced yoga every day. In later years when I started doing yoga, I noticed some of the stretches were the same ones we did in jiu jitsu class.

BH

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-22-2012, 09:05 PM
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Re: Stretching, Flexibility

Try swimming. Has worked wonders for me. Started in December and am now doing two sets of thirty-six laps for 1800 yards or one mile. It like yoga streaches all the muscles. Good luck
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