Sunday, March 2, 2014

Flexibility

I took a weight lifting class when I first started college and one of the things we discussed was the three types of fitness; strength, endurance and flexibility. While there are many people who do not get enough exercise to maintain a good level of strength and endurance it is actually flexibility fitness that seems to be the most often neglected. I am writing this as I'm sitting in a bit of pain from my IT band most likely from not properly stretching it after I run so believe me when I say I am just as guilty as the next person.

Flexibility is really important. Flexibility is what helps keep you from injury and it will help keep you young longer. I worked in a nursing home when I was in high school and I will never forget one particular lady who had been a professional dancer. Physically she was leaps and bounds ahead of the other residents simply because her body was so flexible. Believe me when I tell you that if you want to keep riding when you are 60, 70 or older that one of the most important things you can do to ensure that you get there is to maintain your flexibility! As equestrians we really need to spend the five to ten minutes a day to properly stretch and work on our own flexibility. I've noticed for me that my hamstrings and calves get especially tight when I'm doing a lot of riding.

I do believe that being more flexible will also make you a little stronger by giving you the maximum range of motion for your joints. Overall flexibility really is important.

And of course going beyond the physical being flexible mentally is equally important. As equestrians there are certain hard and fast "rules" but there is also a lot of gray area. One horse may react wonderfully to a certain training method while another horse won't. I learned when I was teaching in Okinawa that I had to change my approach for certain students because they learned differently. If you are having a problem in your training and you feel like you are just beating your head against a wall then it is probably a good time to look for alternative ways to train or get your point across.

Anyways, that is my thought for the day. I took some Advil and hopefully my IT band will settle down and I'm going to do my best to stretch at least once a day.

On the horse front I was going to ride today but we are getting hit by this latest winter storm. I sure hope it is the last. I'm really tired of snow and cold! I most likely won't ride until Wednesday at this point.

Loki enjoying some breakfast this morning, nice & dry in his stall
Ghazal, Zahir and Sharea wondering when will this snow end???

14 comments:

  1. Sigh. Stretching always gets the shaft cause I'm trying to book it outta the gym. I should make more of an effort- my hammies get really tight too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stretching is so quick and easy to do but sadly I often neglect it as well. I guess it just never seems as important to me even though I know it really is.

      Delete
  2. Please share some stretching & flexibility exercises with lazy mortals like me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ps: hope your IT band feels better soon...is it bad that I have no idea what or where that is?
      Sounds to me like something to do with computers *blush*

      Delete
    2. I'll try to do a more detailed stretching post in the future. And no worries, the IT band is short for Illiotibial band and it is the ligament that runs along the outside of the thigh from the hip to the shin. It is very common for runners to have problems with this particular ligament generally from overuse but proper stretching can do a world of prevention.

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. Believe me I'm not very flexible either. In fact I wasn't even very flexible as a kid. I still remember my gymnastics coach scolding me for not being very flexible. But it is something that really can be easily improved with just a few minutes a day. Now if I would just do it!

      Delete
  4. I'm the worst at forgetting to stretch! After my fall wednesday, I gave myself an easy day of just walking thursday, but then went back full-force sans stretching friday. When I got off, I couldn't move. And I'm fairly positive it had everything to do with my failure to stretch out my already messed up muscles before getting on! good reminder here :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we all need this reminder I think. Seriously most injuries can be avoided or be less serious if we are stretching and working on our flexibility every day.

      Delete
  5. Yoga, especially hot yoga can do wonders for the stretching!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yes yes yes! This is a favorite subject of mine as a crossfitting equestrian. You should check out the Supple Leopard book by Kelly Starrett - it's life-changing!

    ReplyDelete