Fitness and strength go hand in hand…the more fit you are, the stronger you become. The more you build upon your endurance, stamina, and tolerance, the more you will be able to lift while in the gym, or to run further while doing cardio, or to complete a HIIT round while in a cardio class. Increasing these pillars are vital in your quest of becoming a stronger, leaner, more fit version of yourself and as with all things in life, it takes time and dedication to the craft. When you are ready to commit yourself to your goal then all your endeavors toward reaching it will begin to align and you will see yourself transform.
Another way to aid in your quest towards becoming fit is to work on increasing your flexibility and balance. These two areas of fitness are often overlooked and discounted; however, they are extremely vital to your overall health and well-being. When working out, injury often occurs due to a person’s inflexibility or lack of core strength and balance. This can spell disaster when exercising – whether that is in the gym or on a basketball court or on a dance floor. When your body is able to move further into a stretch, or deeper into a given movement then you are more likely to use your muscles correctly and keep from injuring yourself because of poor posture or a weak core. When everything is in proper alignment – your hips, back, knees – you are able to hold a pose longer, lift a little heavier, last a little longer while exercising.
How then, do you improve upon your flexibility and balance? You have to incorporate them into your daily routine. When you wake-up, take 5-10 minutes to ease into some light stretches to warm up your body from its eight hours (or less!) of sleep. This will allow for your body to prepare for the day and to give you a natural pick me up for a good start to your schedule. As the day goes on, try to find time to squeeze in additional opportunities to stretch. For example, when at work take a few minutes perhaps at lunch to stretch. Whether it’s a simple calf stretch against the wall or a quad stretch at your car on the way to lunch – take the opportunity if you can. It will help ease the muscles from the hours of sitting. When at the gym, take a few minutes to stretch prior to your workout and then again when you are cooling down. Change up your positions and make sure to hold them for at least a 20-30 second count. At night, make it a part of your evening routine and set aside 10-15 minutes to stretch again. The more you do it, the more flexible you will become. It isn’t easy, and yes, it can be painful, but with time it will become easier and easier. Soon you will notice your body responding to the stretches and you will see your flexibility improving in your daily movements. Your hips, back and legs will be less tight and you will be able to move with a little less pain, a little less ache, and a little less discomfort every day. But remember, it takes time and dedication for the results to appear. Don’t get frustrated and don’t give up. The benefits will start to come when you least expect it. Now, go stretch!