STRETCHING: Is it worth your time?
Have you ever started a workout with the intent of stretching—but you never seem to actually get around to it? This brings up an interesting topic, and a certain question that I am asked often.
Should you really stretch?
The single most overlooked component to any fitness program may very well be flexibility. Let’s face it, there’s nothing glamorous about stretching and frankly it’s pretty boring too.
But did you know that your sore back, stiff neck, and tight joints may be a result of tight or unbalanced muscles in those regions?
Stretching does more than just increase flexibility – it actually helps reduce tension. Stretching helps prevent injury, alleviates tight joins, and helps you gain more from your day-to-day exercise program.
For example, did you know that your sore muscles and tendons can actually heal quicker if you incorporate stretching into your fitness routine? And some studies suggest that you may be able to recruit more muscle fibers during your workouts through stretching as well.
But you should know that all stretching exercises are not created equally. Basically there are two categories for stretching: ballistic and static.
Ballistic stretching is just that – ballistic (ouch). Think back to the early days of black and white television where the fitness gurus of that era would demonstrate flexibility exercises in a bouncing, jerky kind of way. While ballistic stretching is still used in some circles today, the average person can do without it as it does increase the likelihood of an injury.
Static stretching is the safest way to increase the flexibility of a joint. In a nutshell, static stretching is where you hold yourself in a “stretched” position for a 30 second count or so and then relax before repeating the same stretch over again.
Best of all the results from a proper and balanced stretching program come quickly. Typically you could see greater range of motion in a joint that very day, and after only a few days of stretching many people begin to feel the pain-reversing benefits in their back, neck, and joints.
Can stretching really help you?
Yes, if you want to relieve muscle tension, to keep your muscles flexible—which helps with your posture and balance, and to help prevent muscle and joint injury. And the best way to start your flexibility program is to contact me today!
Set Reasonable Goals
So you have 30 pounds that you want to lose? Don’t intimidate yourself with a goal of that enormity. Rather, find smaller, time sensitive goals to guide you to your ultimate, large goal. So instead of focusing on the 30 pounds, focus on the 1 pound that you want to lose this week!
Guiltless Veggie Patch Pizza
Who says you can’t enjoy a slice of pizza without being plagued with guilt? This delicious vegetarian pizza combines zucchini, cauliflower and cherry tomatoes for a surprisingly enjoyable taste. Garlic and basil blend into a tantalizing flavor that will leave you wondering how you could ever go back to greasy store-bought pizza! Yields 4 servings
- 1 Boboli Pizza Crust
- 1Boboli Pizza Sauce Packet
- ½ Yellow Onion sliced
- 2 Medium Zucchini sliced
- 1 Cup Cauliflower, in bite-size pieces
- 2 Teaspoons dried Basil
- 2 Garlic cloves crushed
- ½ Cup Shredded LowFat Cheese
- 15 Calamata olives chopped
- 12 Cherry Tomatoes halved
- *Optional* Grilled Chicken Breast chopped
Pre-heat oven to 400. Place onion, zucchini, cauliflower, basil and garlic in medium saucepan coated in cooking spray. Cook, covered, over medium heat for 10 minutes or until the veggies are soft.
Place Boboli crust on pan, spread sauce evenly over crust. Sprinkle with half of the cheese and half of the olives. Spread cooked veggies over crust, sprinkle with remaining cheese, remaining olives and top with the tomatoes *and add chicken*.
Bake for 10 minutes. Enjoy!