How to Stretch
(SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO)
When a lot of people think of exercise and movement they think about strength training or cardio - which is fair - that shit’s important for sure. But what people don’t tend to put a lot of thought or time into is stretching.
I get it! People put aside 20 minutes or whatever for their workout and they think, “Another 5 minutes for stretching! Bah!” People see stretching as something that doesn’t burn calories and takes up time and so it gets written off. And when I say “people” I mean ME - this fucker before you writing this - because that’s how I used to think. I was a dumb-dumb.
Why the hell is stretching important?
I’m glad you asked! (I know, I asked - but stick with me here…)
Stretching is important for an assload of reasons. It makes us flexible, strong, and healthy. Without it we age physically quicker and our bodies tighten up and then when we really need our muscles for an activity our muscles are all like, “Fuck you dude, you didn’t put the time in to keep me strong - all you get is weak-ass muscles that can’t extend properly!”
Even if you’re not in a fitness regime you should stretch EVERY DAY. Ideally when you first get up. Here’s a bunch more reasons why:
Decreased Stress: Yup. It’ll calm you the hell down and release mental tension. AND when you pair this shit with meditation it’s even been known to decrease anxiety and depression!
Reduced Pain and Stiffness: Make yourself more comfortable! Lose those pesky muscle cramps!!!
Improved Health: It can reduce blood pressure, heart and breathing rate, and counter-act your body’s physiological response to stress and muscle tension. (it’s a real thing, I fucking looked it up!)
Range of Motion: Basically you’re going to be able to move better over-all, bend over more, reach higher, etc… it’s like getting an upgrade on your body!
Reduced Risk of Injury: Stretching in general - particularly before/after a workout helps you warm up your muscles and prevents you from getting hurt. Cold muscles are more likely to get strained and torn and shit.
Better Blood Flow & Circulation: Just how it sounds - get more oxygen and nutrient-rich blood flowing through you. Your body will thank you!
Longevity: Stretching is just going to increase your quality of life, especially as you age and your body starts getting fucking old. Don’t age gracefully! Kick age in the ass and stretch!
The Carl Sandburg Stretches
Who the hell is Carl Sandburg you might be asking? Is he some big health guru I should know about? Well… no… he’s this guy… a poet.
Sexy, right??? But here’s the thing - this dude lived (and did these stretches) into his nineties! So that means ANYONE can fucking do them! And they’re super in line with the modern science of dynamic stretches. So check out the video below to see me stumble my way through them, and then check out the list below for a text description of what they are.
1. Sun Salutations
Start in standing position. Bend over and touch your toes. Now slowly stretch hands up to the sky, letting back bend slightly and look up as well. Repeat ten times.
2. Kicking Toe Touches
Kick up your right leg and try to touch with your left arm. Same on the other side. Repeat ten times for each side.
3. Side Stretches
Lean over to one side, stretch your arm over your head. Repeat on opposite side. Do ten times in each direction.
4. Trunk Twists
Hands on hips, twist torso left to right. Repeat ten times (you knew that was coming!)
5. Barrel Rolls
Hands on hips. Bend torso to right then in a flowing motion move it forward and to the left (if this sounds confusing that’s why I made the video - check it out for reference - it’s way simpler than it sounds), then back to starting position. Now do it the opposite way. Roll in each direction ten times.
6. Arm Circles
Start by holding arms out - now move in circles getting wider or smaller each time. Do ten, then go backwards the opposite way and do ten of those.
7. Alternating Toes
Feet shoulder-wide apart. Bend over and touch left arm to right toe and then vice versa. Repeat ten times.
8. Funky Stretch
Press palms together, finger tips facing away from each other. Balance on one foot for ten seconds while holding one leg up in the air, behind you. Repeat on opposite side.
Arms on wall, kick legs out in runners stance to stretch back leg with it straight. Hold for 30. Now bend back leg to work lower part of calf. Hold for 30. Switch sides, repeat.
Hope you enjoy these and work these into your every day life. SMASH this shit in your body and move better!