Remember folks, if you have a yen for something, sometimes it's better to indulge a little, and get back on the wagon then it is to prevent it entirely and blow the wad on the object of desire. Don't beat yourself up about it. Just move on.
By the way, National Doughnut Day began when the Salvation Army gave free doughnuts to the soldiers during WW1 in huts to help morale. The first Friday of every June has so been named. It's also a tribute to those volunteers, mostly women, who made & distrubuted the doughnuts (or donuts, if you prefer.)
How important is Flexibility? So many differing opinions on the subject but as for me, I find stretching & flexibility to be of great value. There's as many ways to gain flexibility as there are opinions on its value. At least it seems that way.
When do you stretch? Before, during, after exercise? Do you hold it? Do you just rush through the stretch? What are some of the different kinds of stretching? Do you bounce? Why do we stretch? What else can one do to release tightness in the muscles? What causes cramps and the ever-awful "charley horse?" Why do they call it a "charley horse," for that matter? Quuestions, questions, questions. Well, lets talk, shall we...
Active Stretching is a small, short duration stretch of the muscle or muscle group. Typically done prior to your activity. these short bouts are about 2-4 seconds in length and done about 4-6 x's in succession.
Dynamic Stretching is done by moving through the range of motion of the muscle or group. Like reaching side to side through the rib cage with arms outstretched and the legs stationary or not. Again, performed usually prior to activity.
Static Stretching, what we normally think of as stretching, is the longer duration type of stretching. This type should be held from 20-30 seconds after activity. You could certain;y hold the stretches longer if you wish but it's really not necessary unless your enjoying the stretch.
The reasoning for the first 2 types to be done prior to activty is because the muscles could maintain their contractability this way, ensuring maximal power, strength, motion, endurance, whatever the case may be for activity. If the Static stretch were done prior to activity the muscles would lose their maximum contractibility. They wouldn't be as elastic or bounce back as it were. Also, the muscles aren't warmed up enough to prevent possible tears in muscle fiber and/or connective tissues to hold stretches for long periods of time before a workout.
Stretching doesn't necessarily prevent injuries either. In fact, you can seriously injure yourself stretching. You need to listen to your body. I don't like the idea of pulling on my limbs, forcing them where they can't go on their own. Instead I prefer to be patient and allow my muscles to respond. I'll go to my end point, thats just to the point of tension not pain, and hold. Next after a deep inhalation, I'll exhale and see if the body allows for more ROM (Range of Motion). More often than not my body's ROM will increase. I utilize an "anchor point" like hip to floor and press away from that point as in heel to ceiling.
Another form of stretching I like is PNF or Proprioceptive Nuero-muscular Facilitation. I know, thats a mouthful. It's a contract/release style that bypasses the golgi tendon organ response and allows the joint to relax more without over-stretching connective tissue which shouldn't stretch.You can use a towel, a tie, a leash, whatever, even your hands, a wall, or another person for this. For someone like me whose not very flexible it's great.
SMF or Self Myofschial Release is with the use of a foam roller or ball. Yamuna Body Rolling is a use of this typw of muscle release. Again, I love this. It's like giving yourself a massage. Unfortunately, it can be somewhat painful when you hit a "speed bump" or muscle adhesion. But this is also a very effective way to release tightness and increase ROM. This can be done both prior to and after activity.
Whatever form of muscle release you choose, know that it doesn't have to take forever to do. After your activity about 5 minutes stretching what you used should do it. Of course if you wish to go longer feel free. But, by the same token, don't be in a rush to get through it either. I think your body will thank you for it in the long run.
Another benefit of stretching is the increased blood flow to the body. Sending healing O2 into the muscles as well as more fluids and other nutrients keeping the muscle fibers healthy & fed.
Flexibility in the mind is another good thing to practice regularly. I know I'm pretty headstrong but I like to think that I'll at least listen to anothers point of view. Doesn't mean I have to agree with it but at least listen and you might see another possibility spring forth. I'm also not always right either. I just act that way.
Have a great week everyone.