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I hate Stretching routines
Old 11-25-2009, 09:05 AM   #1
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I hate Stretching routines

Yeah, I would rather poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick than waste take the time for this activity. Maybe I am let "off the hook."

Phys Ed: How Necessary Is Stretching?
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For years, flexibility has been widely considered a cornerstone of health and fitness. Many of us stretch before or after every workout and fret if we can’t lean over and touch our toes. We gape enviously at yogis wrapping their legs around their ears. “It’s been drummed into people that they should stretch, stretch, stretch — that they have to be flexible,” says Dr. Duane Knudson, professor of biomechanics at Texas State University in San Marcos, who has extensively studied flexibility and muscle response. “But there’s not much scientific support for that.”

In fact, the latest science suggests that extremely loose muscles and tendons are generally unnecessary (unless you aspire to join a gymnastics squad), may be undesirable and are, for the most part, unachievable, anyway. “To a large degree, flexibility is genetic,” says Dr. Malachy McHugh, the director of research for the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York and an expert on flexibility. You’re born stretchy or not. “Some small portion” of each person’s flexibility “is adaptable,” McHugh adds, “but it takes a long time and a lot of work to get even that small adaptation. It’s a bit depressing, really.”
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Old 11-25-2009, 09:19 AM   #2
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For me, stretching (using the stretching station) at my gym is probably the most beneficial thing that I do there. Stretching has rid me of many of the aches and pains that I formerly thought were age-related or due to arthritis.

Why do I get such good results? I don't know. My guess is that if my body's tissues aren't stretched, it is easier for me to pull a muscle slightly, resulting in pain in that area. The older I get, the less flexible I seem to be if I don't stretch. At any rate, I sleep a lot better without aches and pains (that I used to think were due to arthritis or age) keeping me awake. I also think that stretching helps me in preventing some injuries. For some reason I don't seem to get as good results from stretching unless I use my gym's stretching station and do the stretches suggested on it.

Besides, it gives me a few minutes to mentally settle down and settle into my exercise routine.

What I *don't* like about stretching is that (on rare occasion) while I am stretching, the very last treadmill or exercycle gets taken. However, nobody seems to want the rowing machines so now I just go there first if/when that happens.
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Old 11-25-2009, 09:41 AM   #3
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I'm inflexibly devoted to stretching. It gives me something to do between reps of more strenuous exercises to cool down and recover.
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Old 11-25-2009, 09:55 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by W2R View Post
For me, stretching (using the stretching station) at my gym is probably the most beneficial thing that I do there. Stretching has rid me of many of the aches and pains that I formerly thought were age-related or due to arthritis.
Well, that explains it. I don't have (and have never had) any unexplained aches and pains. Currently, I have a pain in my right thumb that the Doc explained as a tendon injury (like Tennis Elbow) that I doubt a stretching exercise would have prevented.
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Old 11-25-2009, 09:56 AM   #5
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I'm not so convinced that flexibility is not important - especially with aging. But I don't think stretching exercises alone are that important except during a training routine where you really do want to do it in between sets.

Personally I think the best thing for stretching benefits is to take yoga classes until you feel proficient enough to do a simple daily routine in the morning (or whenever). I have never found yoga boring, and it is much gentler stretching IMO than the simple stretching routines yet far more deeply effective. Doing yoga routinely over a long period of time really does increase your flexibility tremendously. Weird contortions are not required in yoga - those are strictly optional.

I see yoga as becoming more integral to my exercising as I get older (and do less other more physically active stuff like I do now). It develops flexibility and balance and even maintains/gains strength to a certain extent. Seems to me that balance and maintaining muscle tone is pretty important.

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Old 11-25-2009, 09:57 AM   #6
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I'm inflexibly devoted to stretching. It gives me something to do between reps of more strenuous exercises to cool down and recover.
And I'm not into competitive exercising either.
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Old 11-25-2009, 10:08 AM   #7
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I'm not so convinced that flexibility is not important - especially with aging. But I don't think stretching exercises alone are that important except during a training routine where you really do want to do it in between sets.

Personally I think the best thing for stretching benefits is to take yoga classes until you feel proficient enough to do a simple daily routine in the morning (or whenever). I have never found yoga boring, and it is much gentler stretching IMO than the simple stretching routines yet far more deeply effective. Doing yoga routinely over a long period of time really does increase your flexibility tremendously. Weird contortions are not required in yoga - those are strictly optional.

I see yoga as becoming more integral to my exercising as I get older (and do less other more physically active stuff like I do now). It develops flexibility and balance and even maintains/gains strength to a certain extent. Seems to me that balance and maintaining muscle tone is pretty important.

Audrey
Definitely yoga sounds like something I should investigate! My gym has free yoga classes, but the beginner's class is very early on Saturday morning. (ugh).
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Old 11-25-2009, 10:14 AM   #8
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And I'm not into competitive exercising either.
Me neither. I usually do part of the "post exercise" stretches between my 20-situp-20-pushup sets. As in 20 push ups, 20 sit ups, stretches to catch breath, 20 push ups, 20 sit ups, finish rest of stretches.

If I go 5-6 days without stretching, I start feeling the back tighten up. Even 5 minutes of stretching seems to help.
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Old 11-25-2009, 10:19 AM   #9
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Personally I think the best thing for stretching benefits is to take yoga classes until you feel proficient enough to do a simple daily routine in the morning (or whenever). ...

I see yoga as becoming more integral to my exercising as I get older (and do less other more physically active stuff like I do now). It develops flexibility and balance and even maintains/gains strength to a certain extent. Seems to me that balance and maintaining muscle tone is pretty important.
I had forgotten about Yoga. I agree, wholeheartedly, with what you say. It has just been many years since I practiced it. I was a BIG fan at that time, however.

I, also, agree that balance and strength go hand-in-hand. Standing, on one foot for any length of time, for instance, takes strength. I am just not sure flexibility plays much of a role in doing that.
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Old 11-25-2009, 10:23 AM   #10
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I probably should have started a new thread with this but decided it might be considered "commercial" on its own. I stumbled across this website after starting this thread and decided that the audience for such a product would, at least, glance at this post.

Fitbit

If nothing else, I am intrigued by the idea of a clip-on "fitness monitor." (Apparently, so do a lot of other people because they sold out instantly and are currently only taking orders for shipment after January 31st.)
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Old 11-25-2009, 11:14 AM   #11
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Thanks for the reminder, I'm going to get up and stretch move around now, the floors need mopping, clothes washing, OMG, I'm staring the T-Day cooking now.

See ya later, Happy T-Day minus one.
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Old 11-25-2009, 12:07 PM   #12
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I remember studies a few years ago showing that stretching doesn't prevent injuries. I don't do any stretching before running, I just start out slowly (or with some walking). I stretch my back before surfing, just in case.

But if it reduces "I'm getting old" pains, maybe I'll do more. It's so hard to know the effects, however, these kinds of pains tend to come and go for me.
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Old 11-25-2009, 12:09 PM   #13
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Yeah, I would rather poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick than waste take the time for this activity. Maybe I am let "off the hook."
+1 I am with you 100% on this one and have been heartened to read the latest research. I work out regularly but hate stretching exercises and have never felt that I benefit from them. The genetics are obvious to me. A couple of my siblings are tight (like me) - I could never touch my toes with my knees locked. But my older brother could always get in a lotus position without using his hands to pull his feet up -- he just moved his legs into position. Same with my son. I used to worry that the lack of flexibility would get worse with age and prevent me from doing things but that has not been the case. The tightness is about the same now as when I was in high school and I ski, windsurf, bike, etc with no problems (albeit a lack of skill).
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Old 11-25-2009, 01:15 PM   #14
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But if it reduces "I'm getting old" pains, maybe I'll do more. It's so hard to know the effects, however, these kinds of pains tend to come and go for me.
Well, I don't know if it will do that for you, but it sure does for me at age 61. The improvement is striking when I stretch on the stretching station at my gym on a regular basis. If I go to the gym and don't stretch, the "I'm getting old" pains hang around.
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Old 11-25-2009, 01:22 PM   #15
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This is another one of those things that can be taken out of context. As part of staving off the problems of aging, I think that stretching is important -- use it or lose it. As far as the average adult needing to work towards achieving splits, that's overkill.

I've personally always been flexible, and am pretty close to splits on both sides, as well as a side (straddle) split. I can sit with my legs out to the sides and lay my chest down on the ground. My sit-and-reach stretch is pretty lousy, though. A flexible groin is more useful than flexible hamstrings in martial arts (now there's a comment that could be taken out of context).

I don't know that I believe their contention that you need to stretch for hours at a time for months to have physical changes, though. That hasn't been my experience.

As far as hyperflexibility leading to injuries, I agree with that. In my anecdotal experience, I've dislocated both shoulders a number of times, separated a shoulder (that one I can't blame on flexibility, though), dislocated a rib, torn my ACL, and had a number of ankle sprains. I wouldn't be surprised at all if some of those injuries were related to my flexibility.
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Old 11-25-2009, 01:55 PM   #16
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Many to most men are intimidated by the idea of yoga.

But I have it on good authority that the benefits of taking yoga classes (especially co-ed classes) extend well beyond improving flexibility. I'm aware of anecdotal stories of increased heart rate, deeper respiratory activity, and for a few lucky ones - an improved social life.
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Old 11-25-2009, 02:47 PM   #17
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Many to most men are intimidated by the idea of yoga.

But I have it on good authority that the benefits of taking yoga classes (especially co-ed classes) extend well beyond improving flexibility. I'm aware of anecdotal stories of increased heart rate, deeper respiratory activity, and for a few lucky ones - an improved social life.
Actually, I remember being more "supple" than "flexible." This is probably due to the relaxing effects of Yoga not so much from the poses. And, I believe a decrease in heart rate is the desired goal -- for those that believe you are only given so many heart beats to begin with.
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Old 11-25-2009, 02:58 PM   #18
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Definitely yoga sounds like something I should investigate! My gym has free yoga classes, but the beginner's class is very early on Saturday morning. (ugh).
But I thought you were getting up super early anyway .

When learning yoga you do want to get started with a beginner's class. There are subtle things in the basic poses that you need hands on guidance for. And learning how to breath properly with the poses is critical too. But once you get the basic poses and general principles down, it's easy to progress with minimal guidance.

I think the Yoga Zone series specifically done by Alan Finger are excellent yoga instruction DVDs, and geared toward the novice. BUT I think you need to have some experience from a class first before doing these on your own. Amazon.com: Yoga Zone - Introduction to Yoga (Beginners): Alan Finger

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Old 11-25-2009, 03:10 PM   #19
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I had forgotten about Yoga. I agree, wholeheartedly, with what you say. It has just been many years since I practiced it. I was a BIG fan at that time, however.

I, also, agree that balance and strength go hand-in-hand. Standing, on one foot for any length of time, for instance, takes strength. I am just not sure flexibility plays much of a role in doing that.
I would say for me the "flexibility" benefits of yoga are more the increased range of motion, reduction of joint and muscle stiffness, and less tendency to injure oneself due to stiffness or poor range of motion. These improvements are very gradual, but it does ultimately make a big difference.

I also remember a tremendous improvement in posture - especially standing and walking.

Yoga is so awesome. I don't do it that much these days mainly because I struggle just to maintain the daily aerobic and thrice weekly strength training sessions I do with our fulltime RVing lifestyle. I look forward to taking more classes and doing a lot more on my own once we aren't traveling quite so much.

But I also have yoga tagged as something I'll be relying on more as I age.

Audrey
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Old 11-25-2009, 03:17 PM   #20
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I remember studies a few years ago showing that stretching doesn't prevent injuries. I don't do any stretching before running, I just start out slowly (or with some walking). I stretch my back before surfing, just in case.

But if it reduces "I'm getting old" pains, maybe I'll do more. It's so hard to know the effects, however, these kinds of pains tend to come and go for me.
Other than yoga, the only specific stretching I do is DURING a strength training session right after working a given muscle set - just like FUEGO mentioned, and then as part of cool down

I don't run, but I walk a lot, and I agree that it's the warmup that is key.

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