Millions of people suffer from muscle tightness, lower back ache and general stiffness. A series of simple, full body, stretching exercises can cure a tight lower back, relieve physical and mental stress, loosen up stiff legs and improve full body flexibility.
Lower back stiffness and pain, tightness in the neck and shoulders, general muscle aches and tight leg muscles are conditions that affect millions of people, from sedentary couch potatoes to elite athletes. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that 14% of new patient visits to physician offices (approximately 13 million annually) are for complaints of low back pain and lower body stiffness. In fact, an estimated 18% of the population has debilitating back pain at any given time. Lack of a proper stretching exercise program is a primary factor in most of these cases
"When we estimate the number of people that don't bother to go to the doctor or seek traditional treatment, such as physical therapy, the number is probably double and most likely higher. The amazing thing is most of these can be fixed with a series of simple stretching exercises for the whole body." claims Exercise Physiologist, Joey Atlas.
Avoidance of stretching exercises, lack of knowledge regarding specific stretches and limited flexibility are three causes of the lower back pain epidemic and overall body stiffness and muscle tightness. The biggest complaint from many sufferers is the challenge of waking up to morning stiffness and backache on a daily basis, with some days being worse than others depending on previous day's activities and overnight sleeping position. Improving range of motion with a well defined stretch program can go a long way in relieving most of these symptoms.
"Flexibility is the most underestimated and misunderstood element of health and fitness. The right stretches, done three times per week would literally wipe out the vast majority of lower back aches. It's no surprise that so many people are clueless about this, most personal trainers don't even know." said Joey Atlas. "You don't have to become a yoga nut or a Pilates addict. You can do your stretching while watching TV."
These six stretching exercise strategies will help you get and stay flexible:
Ease into a stretching program whether you've been exercising regularly or not. Don't force the stretches - stay in a comfortable range of motion.
Stay consistent. Three to five stretching exercise sessions per week is ideal. Every day is fine also - and you don't always have to do the same stretch program
If you feel pain, stop! Slight discomfort is fine, but pain is not. Don't do a stretch if it hurts. Consult with your physician if you are uncertain as to whether or not a certain stretch is appropriate for you.
The best stretching exercises do not require expensive equipment or elaborate devices. You can increase your flexibility with stretches that can de done on a mat with the assistance of a towel a belt of a piece of rope.
If you don't know how to stretch, hire a fitness professional who is trained in flexibility conditioning or invest in a few good stretching exercise videos. You are investing in your health and fitness, don't short-change your self.
Do your stretching exercises first thing in the morning and just before bed if you can - these seem to be the times that yield best results for people who need flexibility the most
Lack of full body flexibility can result in chronic symptoms, and even injury, for people in any age range. A safe stretching exercise program can be performed daily in as little as ten minutes or in an hour, if you have the time. The most effective and simple stretching exercises can be done by children as young as 3 and 4 years old - and the same flexibility exercises can also be safely performed by people in their seventies.
Have you done your stretches today?
Joey Atlas, M.S. - Exercise Physiology, is a fitness consultant, trainer and writer in Jacksonville, Florida. He is the creator of 'Optimum Flexibility', a complete program of
Best Flexibility Stretching Exercises. Joey a fitness consultant, trainer and fitness copywriter in Jacksonville, Florida.
See http://www.optimumflexibility.com for more free exercise tips & information.
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