To pursue a dream requires tremendous courage because the road to success is often paved with challenges. Like a roller-coaster, it is full of twists and turns, ups and downs. On the way, there are bound to be many difficult moments that may lead to self-doubt.
I learned that in life, whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. Critics and skeptics will try to belittle our ambitions and discourage us by dismissing our ideas. Sometimes, we may even be tempted to give up.
11 years ago, I started my fitness journey. During this time, I experienced both the best and worst of times. I am not going to share excuses or sob stories in this blog article. If you are looking for a sob story, this is not the article for you. What I want to share with you today is a dream and I want you to be part of it and join me in my transformation.
Let’s get fit together!
A fitness instructor’s words will often be the similar – “Start easy”, “Have faith in yourself”, “Mind over body”. “Listen to your body”… as what we always tell the new comers – “Start easy and enjoy the class!”
I am going to start with the most basic activity before you even think of starting any strenuous exercise – stretching!
Part I – STRETCH TOWARD BETTER HEALTH
I heard your what you are saying – “Stretching is for girls!”
So, my question to you is what happens when you don’t stretch? Nothing – for a while. Life goes on. You lift. You get stronger. You improve your diet a bit. You get leaner. You look good. Then you wake up one day and you have a slight pain in your lower back.
“Damn,” you say, as you roll out of bed. You instinctively try to stretch it out. Maybe you lean over and touch your toes, which, coincidentally are very far from the tips of your fingers. It helps a bit, so you forget about it. You keep training.
In the gym, other people look at you and say your lifts are good. But you start to notice that after sitting all day at work, your lower back is aching. You try to stretch it out. Maybe you put your hands on your lower back and do the old man, hips forward stretch with a bustling sigh, but it lingers.
Not the biggest deal though, because once you get warmed up at the gym, things feel okay. So you forget about it. You keep lifting. You keep getting stronger. Then one day you’re doing your weight lifting and you feel something snap in your lower back.
“Oh dear!,” you say as you rack the weight. That hurts. You don’t stretch it out this time because it’s hard to breathe. It feels like you need your spine popped back in place. Something’s wrong.
So what happened? At this point, most guys credit this to an unlucky break. “Shit happens,” they might say. “Injury is a part of sport.” While that may be true to a certain extent, believe me when I say that stretching (or rather the lack of) plays a part in it.
So what should you do if you decide to do incorporate stretching in your routine? There are 2 ways you can go about doing it – first taking a yoga classes once a week. An hour per week of mobility work will make a difference. Alternatively, you can follow my posting. I will give you some tips on stretching different parts of our body.
So, why stretch?
Stretching makes our joins flexible which helps us balance, prevents muscle injury and allows us to maintain good posture. The less stiff our joints are, the more we can function independently.
Let’s start easy. I want to start by sharing 5 tips when stretching.
1) Stretch slowly and gently, you should not feel pain.
2) Sustain each stretch for 15-30 seconds.
3) Do stretches at least 2-3 times daily.
4) Hold still at the end of stretch, do not bounce.
5) Avoid sudden movements, excessive bending forward or backward and twisting motions.
Try it and let me knows if it helps you in the comments below!