Stretching has always been one of the most undervalued components of my workout routine.
It has been this way for years.
I was an athlete as a child and through my young adult life, and not to finger point, but my basketball, soccer and tennis coaches in the 80’s did not exactly consider stretching an important part of our practice time. We held poses for a count of 20, and got through the simple, rushed routine in about 2 minutes.
I see this in the girls I help coach on the soccer field. They aren’t motivated to stretch. Kids can’t see their future ahead of them and appreciate what you tell them. “You will be a sore and hobbled older lady if you don’t stretch and continue to stretch your whole life” Yah, right. They want to spend that time moving, playing, and competing.
The time has come for me to change how I view stretching if I want my body to succeed in this adventure.
My friend Jonathan and my trainer Tiffany have been beating this idea over my head since I set out on this journey.
The evidence in books and on the internet is abundant and clear. Stretching = better circulation, helps muscles heal, relieves aches and pains, improves your workout, improves functional/day to day movements, helps flexibility and is a great de-stressor.
I just read Tom Brady’s book called The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance. It is not full of scientific data to back up his claim that pliability and stretching result in a lengthy career such as his. However, I, like many others, have been astounded by Tom’s ability to stay fit and injury free at his age, and given his sport. His lifestyle is monk-like disciplined in a way I could never do, however, the nuggets about pliability and stretching DO make sense.
My friend Jonathan is like Tom in some respects.
He is in his mid 50’s and recently completed 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents. He trained and completed it injury free. Jonathan is planning to do similar adventures and more. His body can handle that, and he thinks his focus on stretching has a lot to do with his body’s success.
He stretches a FULL HOUR EVERY DAY. We are talking static, dynamic, and myofascial release stretching.
Jonathan and I went through his routine together last Sunday. I was suspect that the small, simple movements he made, especially with the upper body, could make a difference. Like Tom Brady, the proof is in the pudding! I felt better and less stiff the rest of the day.
When I look at my day and week, at my time spent working on the Norway project as whole, 75% of my time is spent exercising. I spend the rest working of my project time at my desk and on my phone.
So, in an effort to embrace the “new me”, the new plan to focus on pliability and stretching, I went crazy on Amazon and bought this intense vibrating release ball. I bought a roller. This was a bit of an investment in the new me.
(I kind of feel like that fake who is just trying a new workout and needs all the gear.)
But, this time is different. It has to be different. This time, it’s about survival. I can’t afford to get hurt along the way. I have to make it to my trainer each day it’s scheduled so I’m ready to conquer Norway.
I. HAVE. TO. STRETCH.
So, the new buzz words for my adventure are “pliability” and “stretching”. It is my added focus, and it will be the new companion to all of my strength and conditioning sessions.
I will report back friends!