I started to notice this lack of stretching and flexibility when I started dating my now husband. He was about as flexible as road kill with rigor mortis. Okay…maybe he wasn’t that stiff, but it was terrifying to me that he could not touch his toes. He could make it just past his knees. I asked him, “If you can’t touch your toes in your 20’s, where are you going to be when you’re in your 30’s trying to keep up with your kids and stuff?! You’re not going to be able to play very well and if you do, you’re going to get hurt.” His only response was that, “Most guys can’t touch their toes. I don’t know anyone who can. It’s a girl thing.”
Awww hell no. Stretching and flexibility is not just “a girl thing”. Perhaps girls are more in tune with keeping their bodies balanced and limber, maybe because its not all about getting “huge”. I’m not sure….but I tested this statement on his friends, and sure enough they couldn’t touch their toes either. Scary! So one weekend when I went home I brought it up to my family, specifically my dad and brother who are both very much into health and exercise. To my delight their reactions were similar to mine. They both proved they could touch their toes and stressed that everyone should be able to. Then my 82 year old grandmother stepped up to the plate and touched her toes too and she said, “Use it or lose it.”
Amazing. And true. If we don’t stretch, we will lose range of motion and flexibility. Just like if you don’t lift or exercise you will lose strength and muscle mass. In the same breath all of these things are connected. We must exercise and stretch to keep the machine well oiled and working into the future. Want to increase muscle mass, lift more, lift longer, run faster, run longer? STRETCH! Stretch it out after a workout to increase your range of motion so your body can handle doing these things. Stretch it out after a work out to release muscle tension and tightness to decrease soreness and injuries so you can keep doing these things. Stretch it out to increase flexibility and keep moving longer through life. Exercising and stretching are like peanut butter and dark chocolate, they are the two best friends that any body could ever have. They go hand in hand.