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Life lessons in… stretching!

Updated: Jul 2

Stretching is one of those things that I’ve probably always known (deep down) is important, but for some reason I’ve chosen to pretend… isn’t!

I put this down to timing (the window of opportunity for working out is a small one), but also because I’ve historically underestimated, how useful any of these techniques actually are.

It’s the misconception that if it’s not getting the adrenaline going, it’s not worth doing (a limiting belief which probably hails from the school P.E days, when a token quad stretch would a sufficient cool-down make.)

This assumption that stretching is an optional aside to working-out has, it seems, done me a stark disservice, as nothing about putting into practice even the most basic of stretching sequence, came particularly easily… or naturally.

It was a peak ‘spaghetti arms’ moment, and evidence that exercise and weight-bearing workouts alone, do not a supple body make!

As Personal Trainer Bruno at the Anantara Vilamoura highlighted, posture and flexibility work are essential pieces of the physical fitness puzzle, and are as vital for ameliorating the benefits of regular physical activity such as running, as they are for reducing the risks (to joints and muscles!)

With this in mind, I’ve officially conceded that I need to be more flexible in my approach to fitness, something that it took attempting a simple waist stretch, to fully see and appreciate.

In practice, what this has looked like so far, is an intentional, 5-10 minute post-run cool down, tacked on at the point at which I’d ordinarily be kicking the trainers off with a perfunctory ‘job done!’, and heading straight for the shower!

Granted, solo stretching doesn’t have quite the same ‘edge’ as the partner-supported techniques learned at the Anantara, but even in spite of this, there are subtle, cumulative changes emerging (the spaghetti arms are improving… slowly.)

It’s these definite ‘pros’ (together with side-benefit of just slowing. Things. Down) that has seen ‘floor work’ become one of the best health habits I’ve made recently… by a long stretch!

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