"Do you stretch?"
"Not enough." I said.
He laughed and said "Right answer!"
It turns out that my calves are super tight from years of running and wearing heels. Obviously if you have any aches and pains, it's great to see an expect to assess your situation, don't rely on some unqualified person like me on the internet! So I now have two different calf stretches to do for twenty seconds, five times and I have to do them twice a day and once before and after any exercise.
After suffering from an occasional sore shoulder I'm convinced is linked to carrying my son too much when he was a baby (that I keep meaning to get checked out as well), I light bulb switched on. It occurred to me that I'd moved on with my exercise regime and I no longer focus only on cardio calorie burn but also focus on strength and tone but I've completely neglected flexibility. I remember having joined gyms when I was younger and flexibility tests showing I was really inflexible in certain joints and muscle groups.
I remember thinking
"So what?" and "I can still do a lotus position so I must be flexible" except that only proves that certain ranges of motion in my hips and knees are flexible.
As I'm finding, it helps prevent injury but also helps posture and can still help tone. Yesterday I did a 35 minute Fitness Blender stretching workout and my shoulder is already feeling a little better. I read something Kelli said on her comments which struck a cord:
"A year or two ago I started doing these stretching sessions that I considered goal-less stretching, in a way. I started into it with no expectation at all, except maybe hoping to lower my stress levels and fight back against muscle tightness that comes from being on a computer all day. My stretching turned into a real habit and I "accidentally" gained a lot of flexibility, quieted a few (very) old nagging injuries from sports, and gained a little spot in my day where I wasn't racing towards any kind of goal"
So for me, 2016 will be the year of flexibility alongside my normal running, HIIT and strength work outs. I will be building more Pilates, Yoga and stretching into my weekly routines, spending more time stretching after exercise and I will let you know if it helps.
I've linked this up to the healthy, happy, green and natural party hop.