Flexibility is one of those things we don’t think much about until we experience muscle soreness, pain or an injury. Due to the fact that most of the quality stretching is typically done at the end of an exercise program, it often gets shorted or blown off completely by instructors like me who hate shorting their choreography. One solution is to consider incorporating dynamic and static stretches thru out the class routine. You may have noticed this strategy in the Water exercise 321 and Deep 321 workouts. Research supports the fact that flexibility is too important to blow off.
6 BENEFITS OF STRETCHING
#1 Increased Flexibility
Regular stretching improves flexibility, which is crucial to overall health and for performing activities of daily living without discomfort. Lack of flexibility leads to a lack of mobility.
#2 Greater Range of Motion
Regular stretching promotes optimal joint health by improving flexibility in the muscles and tendons, which move a joint through a full range of motion. Joint range of motion decreases as muscles become less flexible.
#3 Enhanced Performance in Fitness Activities
Exercising effectively and vigorously requires flexible muscles. A lack of flexibility makes people more prone to injury during physical activities.
#4 Improved Posture
Muscular imbalances can take a toll on the human body as we age. We tend to age forward into a slumped posture due to weak back muscles and tightness in our anterior upper body muscles, the chest and shoulders. Poor posture leads to a host of other health issues. Strengthening and stretching muscles can help with alignment and postural improvement.
#5 Prevent Back Pain & Injury
Tight muscles in the hamstrings and glutes can lead to tight muscles in the lower back. Back injuries are one of the leading causes of disability and can lead to chronic pain that lessens quality of life. Stretching helps to prevent and heal lower back injury.
#6 Mindfulness & Stress Relief
Nothing could be more stressful than living in the year 2020. Stress tends to cause muscles to tighten up, particularly in the neck and shoulders. Participating in regular stretching not only helps to alleviate stress induced muscle tightness, it can also calm your mind with a slower and soothing mind & fitness activity.
WATCH Mark talk about the benefits of stretching.
The 15-Minute Water Exercise Stretch was designed for shallow water, but almost the entire stretch routine can be done in deep water with a flotation belt. When performing the upper body stretches in deep water, the lower body would need to perform gentle movement to remain buoyant and vertically aligned. When performing lower body stretches, the arms may need to gently scull to maintain alignment.
Anticipating that I would get some inquires to the music used, I have included the link to the custom mix I made at Yes! Fitness Music. You can download (remix or use as) the 110 BPM mix for $15.00USD. The mix includes 11 tracks as is around 55 minutes in length. Download Aqua Flex & Flow
Thanks to the awesome subscriber who suggested that I create an extended stretch routine that can be added on to other workouts. Fantastic idea! I am vowing in 2021 to provide additional 15-Minute Stretches, such as wall stretching, rhythmic stretching, yoga stretch, Barre stretch and more. Now it’s your turn to make a goal. Can I suggest one? I think you should make a goal in 2021 add more stretching in your classes so that you can help your students experience the benefits of improved flexibility.
Author: Mark Grevelding is the founder of Fitmotivation. He is also a training specialist and consultant with the Aquatic Exercise Association’s (AEA). Mark has been active in the fitness industry for 22 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, international presenter and a continuing education provider for AEA, AFAA & ACE.