Out of it all – keep stretching

Out of it all, I CANNOT go without this one thing!

As with nearly every industry in the world, there will be fads and fashions. The fitness industry is no different. Over the years trends have moved from school gymnastics in old gymnasiums, to lycra clad aerobics to fancy gyms with the latest high tech equipment.

I always encourage people that all movement counts, and you don’t just have to follow the fashion of the time. I’ll give you a typical example: If we are told we need to exercise, many people today would automatically think they need to go to a gym. You can definitely exercise in a gym, but it is by NO MEANS the only way to get all the amazing benefits from exercising our bodies.

A few years ago I got married and moved in with my wife, who lived right out in the countryside. Being a town boy all my life you can imagine this was a bit of shock. This will sound like a ridiculous comment to those of you with physical jobs, but one of the major things I discovered is the fantastic exercise you get whilst living on a land and buildings that need to be maintained. I benefitted from it so much I didn’t even need a gym on most occasions.

Even though I was getting a great ‘workout’ with the work on the farm, I found I was getting very stiff, with a few aches I didn’t usually get. I then realised that I wasn’t doing the usual stretches I perform after my gym workouts. I asked around, and I found that other guys who were doing ‘non-gym’ activities were finding the same thing.

Suppleness: How to make the most of your body

Being supple is one of the most amazing abilities you could possess. Having a supple body allows you to move in a way that is hugely liberating. You are able to perform any task without having to think “Oh what about my hips?!” If your kids ask you to play with them on the park, or you need to pick something up from the floor or friends ask you to join them for a walk, you are free to say yes or no without having your aches and pains decide for you!

Much of the pain we experience is down to stiffness, either in our joints, muscles or other tissues in the body. Moving with stiffness requires a huge amount of energy, so another benefit of suppleness is that you have so much more energy. Investing just a few minutes a day stretching can produce a return that is worth every second.

So if you enjoy walking, cycling, dancing, gardening, playing sport, lifting rocks, abseiling, climbing or whatever it is, do it and enjoy every second. But no matter what you use for exercise, ensure you get the most out of it by maintaining your suppleness. How we do this can be very individual, try different stretches and see what works for you. Next week, I’ll take you through the stretches that I will not go through a day without!

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