Have you ever watched a kid play? They run, jump, fall, then get up and do it again and again. My kids love the ground. In fact, I'm old school when it comes to kids and play. After school, it is a requirement for my kids to get outside and get dirty on the ground.
As we get older though, there's one thing we dislike. The floor. Why don't we like this fantastic place for exercise? It could very well be the lack of strength and flexibility.
There's a great stretch that can be done on the floor called an upper spinal rotation. Picture yourself laying in a fetal position on your side and moving your upper body to the opposite side of where your knees are pointing. A flexible person can do this and have their knees pointing to the left and their right shoulder blade lying comfortably on the floor demonstrating great spinal flexibility. I teach this stretch in one of my classes to a group of active and fit 60 and 70-year-olds. It doesn't come easy to them. They work very hard every week trying to improve their ability to do this trunk rotational stretch along with other stretches. Then I go home and tell my kids to do this stretch and they effortlessly perform it. Why? Most kids are very flexible because of daily movement. The older we get, the less we move or want to move in our day and then we get tighter.
I've made a commitment to myself to move more in my day and to stretch daily. Stretching is often overlooked in the exercise routine because it's slow and time consuming. It takes time to properly stretch each muscle group. You know what else takes time? Rehabilitating from an injury. An injury that could have been prevented by stretching and maintaining flexibility.
So, take the time daily to move and stretch your muscles, ligaments and tendons. And don't forget to eat well, sleep well and exercise. Here's to your good health.
About the author: Jonathan Souder is the fitness director at Manor House, an ACTS Retirement-Life Community in Seaford. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org