Quad Cities, IL/IA

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The Importance of Flexibility in a Healthy Exercise Program


A collaboration by The Group OBGYN

To stretch or not to stretch? We’ve all heard advice about stretching to warm up or stretching after a workout. In a healthy weight loss and exercise program, it is important to balance all aspects of physical fitness. Speed, balance, and range of motion are the core tenets of a balanced and productive fitness program. But, most Americans tend to favor exercises that emphasize speed and strength at the expense of range of motion. We tend to think of stretching as something we “should” do, like take extra fiber. We don’t make time for it, barely fitting in our cardio and strength workouts.

As we age, it is important to stay mobile and flexible for a variety of reasons, but most essential is to keep our bodies in proper condition so we reduce inflammation, soreness, and general malaise. Staying flexible helps to increase our quality of life, helps to decompress and relax, helps decrease chronic pain, improves balance, and increases our abilities to perform athletic and non-athletic tasks on a daily basis.

Flexibility training can happen any time and anywhere during a seven-day period of a fitness program. Anyone can begin a proper fitness program and include flexibility by using gentle stretches or using a foam roller before and after they complete a cardio or strength-training workout. Including flexibility before and after a workout is important, but devoting one day a week to mobility and flexibility training will help you get the most out of the rest of your week in your fitness routine.

If you are unsure where to begin, there are many wonderful resources via the Internet. YouTube will have many stretching, yoga, or mobility videos you can watch and use free of charge. A simple Google search can also yield a large selection of various stretches and mobility moves to add to your weekly fitness routine. Another place to find appropriate mobility training is your local yoga studio. Here in the Quad Cities, we have many yoga studios offering a variety of yoga classes to fit your schedule, needs, and desires when it comes to flexibility training.

There may be a bit of a learning curve to becoming more flexible and including this in a weekly fitness routine. However, after a few weeks, you will begin to notice a vast change in your strength, balance, and ability to perform daily tasks with ease. So, the answer is: Stretch! Stretch before or after workouts, or give it a day of its own, but absolutely, stretch!

Allison Elfline, NASM-CPT, WFS, is the owner of WellWomanQC and on-staff as a certified personal trainer of the weight management program at The Group. For more information on our weight loss programs, call today to set up an appointment at 563-355-1853. The Group looks forward to seeing you at 53rd St. and Eastern Ave. in Davenport! Visit us at www.obgyngroup.com.