We had another great week of sessions in the TransFit studio this week! Thank you each for bringing your best energy and positive attitudes each time you come to exercise!
Flexibility and stretching are such an important part of our TransFit workouts! We love getting to spend our last five minutes together in the studio after a full body workout- lengthening our bodies and allowing our minds to focus on how to live transformed each hour of each day.
Our new TransFlex instructor, Melynda McCutcheon, is a certified yoga instructor, and she wants to share with you just a few of the many benefits of stretching and flexibility.
To stretch or not to stretch? And how often? What is the answer? Before I get to that, let’s take a stroll down old memory lane... Do you remember how you felt when you first started at TransFit? Do you remember a goal you had that you thought was too difficult to reach, and yet now that you have accomplished it, you realize that it just took that daily progress toward better choices to achieve what seemed impossible?
When I began Transfit, I knew that water intake was something I had to address immediately. Trying to reach that goal of 100 ounces a day was tough! I felt like I spent all day filling my water cup and running to the potty...and there were lots of days I didn’t reach 100 ounces, but I kept trying new things...a new cup, fatter straws, a pitcher of lemon lime water in the fridge...I tried every tip anyone gave me, and guess what? Most days, I easily surpass 100 ounces a day and truly feel strange and lethargic if I don’t fuel my body with enough water, so that goal that seemed difficult at first is now a habit.
What about stretching? When I tell you that it is vital to our physical health, it seems daunting to begin from scratch, doesn’t it? But the answer is in leaning into progress, ladies. The answer is in the effort to prioritize it for long enough for it to become a habit, a part of the routine of our summer days. Here is some helpful information and tidbits to get you going on your journey toward more flexibility and better form in all of your workouts:
Studies have shown that daily stretching works better than one LONG stretch session once a week...it’s just like drinking water... I can’t drink all of the water I need for the week on Monday and satisfy my water goal that way. As we stretch or workout, we tear our muscles, little tiny tears, but tears nonetheless, and the way our body gains strength in our workouts of any kind is through healing and repairing those tears. In turn, we end up with strengthened, lengthened and more flexible muscles. Our stronger muscle tissue is also less prone to injury or strains. This happens, though, a small amount at a time, so daily practice is the best and quickest way to see results in your flexibility and strength.
Here are 3 reasons why stretching is essential for whole body health:
1. Stretching improves your flexibility and range of motion. Exercising can cause muscles to become tighter than normal, so your range of motion decreases. As a result, your body can become more prone to injuries. Therefore, it is crucial to increase your flexibility to help improve your body's strength, balance, and health.
2. Stretching can improve your mobility and your performance in multiple activities. As you stretch, you are lengthening your muscles and increasing the blood flow to your muscles. It will then become easier to work those muscles while exercising and will allow your muscles to work effectively.
3. Stretching allows you to clear your mind and thoughts. It is easy to recognize stress, but sometimes we forget about the toll stress can put on our bodies. Stretching daily will allow your mind to focus on something other than your to-do list or schedule for the day. Your body is able to concentrate on what is important, allowing the mind to recharge.
To condition your muscles, attempt for 15-20 minutes a day of flexibility work. We will post a few yoga workouts for you here soon, but in the meantime, you can work through 3-5 rounds of sun salutation followed by a flow through poses like Warrior I, II, III, and triangle pose. After you complete that standing sequence, take a seat on the floor in a pike position and stretch for your toes with a flat back 2-3 times (Use a towel around the bottom of your feet and hold each end). Finish up with some twists on your back...you can use the twists that our trainers guide us through at the end of TF sessions or any supine twist that feels good for your back. My favorite is to lie down with my knees bent, feet on the floor about hip width apart. I let me knees fall together to one side and turn my head to the other side with my arms out to my sides in a “T.” Repeat on the other side. As you go through this stretch routine, match your breath to each movement, inhale when you raise your arms, exhale when you forward fold, etc. Through this attention to your breath, your body relaxes and warms up in the poses, not to mention the bonus benefits of a calmer mind and spirit.
Come join Melynda on the mat at the studio at a Transfit Flex class soon! TransFlex meets Tuesdays at 7:00 PM and Thursdays at 11:30 AM.