As you grow older, there is no need to grunt and groan when you get out of the chair or shuffle when you walk or turn your whole body to look at what’s going on next to you. Although, there is an acknowledged biological decrease in natural flexibility as a person ages, there is increasing evidence that the decreases in physical function we commonly associate with aging are not entirely related to advanced years, but rather to sedentary lifestyles. When aging is accompanied by increasingly sedentary lifestyles, muscle atrophy is almost always the result. And once this happens, it is difficult to regain that muscle mass with strength training and regain flexibility with stretching. But it can be done.
With the summer right upon us, you should take great care in hydrating your body regularly. If you wait to drink until you feel thirsty, it’s too late. Thirst is a symptom of dehydration. Dehydration decreases plasma volume. With less blood getting to the skin, the systems that control heat dissipation fail. Once this happens, an athlete overheats even more quickly. Performance levels drop. And things can get dangerous. Symptoms of dehydration include muscle cramping, excessive sweating, dark urine or infrequent urination, weakness, nausea, rapid heart rate, headache, light-headedness, increased body core temperature, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. In extreme cases, the consequences of dehydration can be fatal. It makes no difference if you are working out in cold or hot weather, inside or outside, in arid or humid climates, on a ski slope or in a swimming pool – hydration is vitally important.
You should plan to hydrate before, during and after your workout. Plain water is good, but some athletes prefer sports drinks that hydrate as well as replace electrolytes lost in sweating and carbohydrates such as glucose, sucrose, fructose and glucose polymers. Although it is worth to mention that with a proper and balanced diet, expensive electrolyte drinks is not a absolute necessity, and allot of times it is even a waste of money. Some experts believe it is best to drink water before your workout to hydrate your body, and sports drinks later during your workout when your body needs the carbohydrates and is prepared to handle and use the sugars you’re taking in. There’s a wide variety of sugar drinks on the market, but no matter what you drink, if you drink it cold, it will absorb more quickly in your body.
Happy training, see all this and more at www.stretchingsa.co.za
Muscles can elongate 1.6 times their resting length when they’re healthy, but they generally don’t like to do that. If you elongate a muscle for a prolonged period of time or you stretch it to far, it automatically recoils to protect itself from ripping. On the other hand, your muscle will ballistically recoil if you stretch to fast too soon. Both these neurological reactions or compensations are called “Myotatic reflexes”. Lets focus on the long stretches for now; when stretching for 10 seconds or more, the intensity just might become to much for your muscles. Imagine yourself the last time you tried to do splits. Unless you are naturally flexible, it might have been something like this; you leap out of the chair and stand straight up, then you slid your right foot forward and your left foot backward until you felt a “tug” on the insides of your thighs. You either pull up your legs immediately or buckle your knees and drop to the floor to get that pressure of your hips. You pull your knees up to relax the tension. You were experiencing the “Myotatic reflex”: a load and clear message that you were going to rip the muscle in the next second and you needed to let go NOW.
Active Isolated Stretching is warming up the muscles by itself. As you work your muscles, you are pumping blood to them and firing them, one at time. As each set of stretches progresses, you gradually increase your range of motion with gentle assistance at the end of each stretch. Each subsequent stretch is a little more elongated, which means the muscle on top of the stretching muscle is firing a little harder. Everything is becoming more efficient and working more smoothly. This is why we recommend an Active- Isolated stretch routine before you begin a workout.
Following a workout, an identical routine can help flush metabolic wastes such as lactic acid that accumulate in a stressed muscle. The gentle pumping action of the routine sends blood to parts of the body that have worked hard. Healing and recovery begin and are accelerated. Range of motion is restored in areas that have been tracked in very rigid and specific patterns – Like running. In this manner, stretching can be used as a ‘cool down’ routine. See more on www.stretchingsa.co.za
Conventional wisdom use to be that we RICE an injury, right? You know. Rest. Ice. Compression. And elevation. But, we have found that immobilizing an injury – unless it is fractured or shredded – shuts the muscle down and restricts blood flow. And, frankly, opening a muscle or joint up and encouraging blood flow to oxygenate the area and flush out metabolic waste from injury seems a whole lot more intelligent to us. Additionally, immobilizing a muscle causes it – and everything around it – to atrophy. And the body instantly will launch a series of compensations to make up for the fact that something is not working properly or at all, which will cause more imbalances and instabilities and greater risk of more injury elsewhere.
So here’s our opinion. The best way to treat an injury is MICE. Move it. Ice it. Compress it when you’re on periodic breaks from your rehab program. And Elevate it (Preferably with your stretch rope, during long and frequent routines.)