Posts Tagged ‘Flexibility’

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”

– Dr. Seuss

Some experts claim that stretching is a bad idea and they aren’t wrong! If you stretch too much or attempt to stretch without the right goals or proper instruction, it could lead to disastrous outcomes. Most people are unaware of the components of good stretching. Determining goals and learning what type of stretching that works best for you are most important to avoid pain and injury.

Stretching can not only prevent injury but help to promote health and wellness.

Stretching can not only prevent injury but help to promote health and wellness.

The 2 main goals to consider when stretching are whether you want to just prep the muscles for strenuous activity or whether you would like to lengthen the muscles to increase range of motion and improve movement? If you are getting ready for a work out or about to do strenuous activity the type of stretching that would be better suited for you would be Ballistic, which involves bouncing , or a short duration static stretches, which involves holding a stretch for a short period of time. You also want to make sure that you are stretching target muscles that you will be utilizing. If you are looking to improve your range of motion and optimize movement while recorrecting your posture, then you would be more suited to visit a specialist that can help teach you Static, Active Isolated, and/or PNF stretching that would include the proper movements, adequate amounts of pressure and durations, and tips to avoid overstretching.
The idea behind stretching, either for activity prep or for increasing range of motion, is to avoid injury. Stretching increases blood flow to the area which increases localized temperature making the muscle fibers more pliable and easier to reduce muscular tension. The increase in blood flow also brings nutrients to the area that assists in the recovery of muscle tissue from activity and injury. With benefits like that, it should be an easy choice that stretching is a good move, but remember to stretch smart and stretch well. Always remember to seek professional advice on stretching from professionals such as chiropractors, massage therapist, personal trainers, and rehab specialists!

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“Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots – but you have to play the ball where it lies.”
– Bobby Jones

The weather is cooling off and the Summer is coming to an end and here in Charleston, that gets those who golf quite excited. The cooler weather makes it more appealing for golfers to get their game on!images (1)

Golf has become the most popular sport worldwide and according to the National Golf Association there are approximately 26.2 million Americans 18 years of age or older playing at least 1 game per year. Whether one is playing a weekend game for recreation or participating in regular tournaments for competition, the golf game has become more than just a mental game and has become a very physical game. Golf is a whole body activity with a focus targeted at the core muscles. Without proper conditioning, training, and preventative maintenance a golfer could find themselves in chronic pain and frustrated with a game that is not quite up to “par.”

There are many factors that can lead to injury and an unsatisfying game including minor trauma, lack of warm up, overuse of muscles, and the most common a poor posture. These factors can cause pain in many areas throughout the body seeing as body is completely connected, but the main areas that seem to be affected most include the shoulder complex, hips, and the low back. Golfers should be fully aware that the body is made to heal itself and should be educated of how to listen to the body for proper care and preventative maintenance. Therapeutic massage therapists are a great tool for any golfer looking to recover, reduce pain, and gain a better game.
Therapeutic massage therapists can start by simply assessing posture to figure out what muscles are overstretched and what muscles are too tight. Following the assessment, the golfer will soon be educated on anatomy and physiology and how it relates to their golf game. Through communication between the golfer and the therapist, goals and
expectations should be set followed by stretching, sports massage, and even
strengthening exercises. Stretching and massage are key elements to increase blood flow and range of motion. By increasing blood flow the body is able to deliver nutrients and remove wastes more efficiently allowing a quicker recovery. Increasing range of motion will assist in returning the body to a neutral posture and allow the body to move easier which in return, will reduce pain, injury and will have the potential to improving swing techniques producing a better game.

Sean Fister, 3 x World Long Drive Champion and advocate of Massage Therapy

Sean Fister, 3 x World Long Drive Champion and advocate of Massage Therapy

Focused treatment to affected areas including proper core strengthen, stretching, adequate hydration, and therapeutic massage has been proven to improve ball striking, drop game scores, and reduce injury, slicing, anger and frustration. Changing the “bad habits” of old postures can prove to be a bit daunting, but the rewards of better health and an optimized golf game are well worth the time and effort. Since most golfers out there are willing to do just about anything to be as pain free as possible, why not give therapeutic massage a try?

“Practice, and all is coming”

– Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

I have so many clients, especially male clients,  that come to in search of the best way to stay pain free and the simple response is to stretch more. The usual response that I get is “I don’t like to stretch, it’s boring” or “I don’t know how to do it right.” There is an easy solution to this, Yoga. I don’t practice nearly as much as I should, however; I am a huge advocate of utilizing the technique to optimize flexibility and health. To help explain the many benefits of Yoga and how it can positively effect an man’s health, I will put the following entry in the hands of Ken Immer. Ken is one of my clients and friends who hosts weekly yoga sessions catered to men specifically.

Men &Yoga

By: Ken Immerken1

 

I have been teaching yoga for over 10 years, and to this day, it surprises me that more men are not practicing yoga. When new men show up for their first class with me, I always ask them how they feel after my class, and the answer 99% of the time is “It’s not what I thought it was… at all.” This response can sometimes be a surprise because I may have actually talked to the guy before hand and convinced him to come check it out. Clearly, the invitation was understood and taken, but the message about what a yoga class IS often was not. The guys always say that “It was a lot harder than I expected” or “That was an amazing workout.” or “I can’t believe how relaxed I feel.” These are the messages that I want to convey: yes, it is a tough workout, you will sweat, and yes, you will feel relaxed and rejuvenated after practicing. All yoga classes, however, are not created equal when it comes to the first two, and that’s where some of the confusion comes in, but every class will always give you the last one. Which is one of the biggest reason to do it. We all could use a little less stress. The difference with the first two is your own current fitness level and attitude, and there is a yoga for everyone out there.

 yogaken
Most men believe that yoga is something soft and feminine, and it can be. But a key attribute of yoga practice is balance, so along with a feminine side, there is a stronger, harder, masculine side. Yoga was originally designed BY men FOR men’s bodies. We have a natural tendency to be stronger, and many yoga practices develop and rely on this strength, but are often omitted from yoga classes that are mostly attended by women. So, yeah, what you may have heard is sometimes true, but not always, and it depends on the style of yoga and the individual teacher. Sounds confusing, right? Well how do you get to the right class? The answer is just going to your first class and giving it a try.  However, at first it’s important to understand a little about a yoga practice. It’s a lot like any other exercise or sport. When you first start lifting weights, you don’t just go right for the 400 lb. bench press. A good trainer will first use lighter weights to help you learn good form first, and then start to add more weight gradually once you have the fundamentals. Yoga is the same. Your first beginner’s class, for most, will not be the hardest workout of your life, although if you are starting very out of shape, it will likely take some wind out of you and make you sweat, but a seasoned athlete will likely not consider it incredibly challenging. This is completely normal. Your first class is simply learning form and function. Getting used to being barefoot (did they tell you we don’t wear shoes in class?), understanding the format of the class (which often begins with a meditative ‘centering’ and some basic breathing practices, and ends with a complete, on-your-back-with-eyes-closed resting period called “corpse pose” or “savasana” (that’s the technical term, but we won’t get into that here.). Your second class, you might actually start to hear some of the more subtle cues that a good instructor will give instead of just trying to figure out how to get your foot up to the top of the mat, or sit still for as long as the teacher might ask you to. The fact is, it’s an alien world for your first several classes, but believe me when I tell you that it’s worth the investment, and if you give it the chance, you actually start to get the benefits from day 1. So what are these benefits, you ask? Greater flexibility, greater lung capacity, better balance, a truly stronger core that you can feel all the way out to your arms, and of course, there is the benefits of increased sex drive and performance, just to name a few. Once you learn some basic fundamentals, a whole new world of body awareness seems to blossom in front of your eyes. Muscles that you never knew you had start to get stronger, and at the same time, your flexibility will INCREASE, which is quite the opposite that happens with dedicated weight training. Your body becomes more efficient because the breathing exercises help to draw more oxygen into your bloodstream and your breathing becomes deeper. All of these benefits add up to a more relaxed and vital you! This is why the practice is so amazing: it will improve your overall performance in all physical areas of your life. You will sleep better, you will feel better, you will have better balance, and you will feel stronger at the core of your being. And best of all, you can advance at your own rate, attending more and more challenging classes as you feel ready.
 yogaman1
Some men do well using nothing but yoga as an exercise, others will find that regular yoga practice (even only once per week) will benefit all other exercise routines and sports. So if you’re interested in achieving top performance and seeing breakthrough results in your life, yoga is the key. So the elusive, “right class for you” becomes the $64k question. How do I find a studio/teacher that is right for me? You have to ask around! Call the local studios and ask them about how their style of yoga might be for you. One of the fundamental teachings of yoga is that everyone is an individual, and there is no “one right way” to practice. This is why there are so many styles and types of yoga. Living in Charleston, we have an amazing array of styles, teachers, and methods to choose from so it may take some looking and experimenting, but remember, each class is delivering on that long list of benefits, even when you don’t feel like the particular class was “for you”. So it’s never a waste of time. There is an incredible online resource www.yogaformen.comand it’s brother facebook page that I would recommend you check out if you are ready to start exploring the yoga path. It can help you sort through the variety, and actually connect you with other men who are seeking and who have found their yoga practice. There are currently two specific “Men’s only” yoga classes in North Charleston that are offered weekly on Mondays and Thursdays, which can be great for guys who might be apprehensive to a room full of super-flexible women. Every studio in town also has a “beginner’s series” that they will offer at least monthly, and there are always at least a FEW guys in each beginner series, so you won’t be the only one.
The biggest piece of advice I can ever give a man who is giving yoga a try is to do it for at LEAST 6 weeks (1 or 2 times per week) before your make any decisions about its results. It can take this long just to get acclimated because it is so different from anything you have ever done. The reason you are considering it is because you are still looking to increase performance, right? Or maybe it’s because you simply need a form of exercise that is less dangerous and impactful than your current choice. Whatever the reason, yoga IS different, and it can be for you. All you have to do is be open minded to the possibility that it is for you.
Yoga4Menyogaman2
Thursdays, 6:30pm – 7:45pm
Armory Park
5000 Lackawana Blvd.
North Charleston, SC 29405
$5-10 (donation class)
Men’s Yoga
Mondays, 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Barefoot Yoga Studio
1050 E. Montague Ave.
North Charleston, SC 29405
$15 drop in, ($12 with membership)