Stretching/flexibility program recommendations

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Stretching/flexibility program recommendations

Postby MickeysBackyard » Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:54 am

Good morning! I just started Dr. McDougall's MWL plan today- yay for me! Excited to hop on this wagon :)

I'm 40 years old right now, and I'm watching my parents get less and less flexible as they get older. Not that really any of us in my family are that flexible to begin with... I'm not big on resolutions, but I've decided that I should add some kind of stretching/flexibility work to my exercise routine. I'm great at slow long exercises like long walks, hiking, treading water etc. but I'm very impatient with stretching. Part of the problem is that my cats and dog are always interrupting me - ha! - but I have a room in my house I can dedicate to this activity where I will be undisturbed. Well, physically anyway. Mental concentration and focus will still be an issue.

Any recommendations on a stretching/flexibility/yoga routines that might work for someone with the patience of a toddler? I've tried P90x's Yoga (ouch) and XStretch, DDP Yoga (which is probably my favorite but I still struggle making it a habit I WANT to do), Sara Ivanhoe's Candlelight Yoga, and a bunch of random YouTube exercise videos. I'm half considering tracking down a copy of the old Callanetics video my mom had when I was a teenager. Boy I wish I had continued doing that routine when I started it :lol:
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Re: Stretching/flexibility program recommendations

Postby sirdle » Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:24 pm

What follows is my own, personal opinion, and is not based on any of Dr McDougall's or Jeff Novick's writings.

Keep moving! Our bodies were made for motion, not sitting around watching TV or camping in front of a computer. Anything you do to increase your movement will help. The more you move each joint through the full range of motion, the more flexible you will become.

Personally, I use static and dynamic stretching. For static stretching, I try to follow the advice of Bob and Jean Anderson in their 1975 book "Stretching". For dynamic stretching, I am currently using "The 8 Pieces of Brocade" which is a type of Qigong, but I am also studying T'ai Chi.

It seems to me that stretching/flexibility is a mind-body activity. When I stretch, I have always treated my body as an object. I bend a muscle until I feel a slight tension, then I push a little more. My mind wanders. Often this does not help me relax or become more flexible.

I am beginning to think this is not very helpful.

I think the proper approach is to use your mind to feel the muscle... to become aware of how far the muscle has stretched and how much tension is on it. Then, back off a little and focus the mind on relaxing the muscle. Then stretch a little. 'Stretching' is really just 'focussed relaxation'.

Once you've got your mind working with your body, I don't think it matters what flavour of flexibility exercise you choose: Yoga, Pilates, T'ai Chi, Qigong, weight lifting, motion exercise. They will all produce excellent results. But if your mind is not in it... if you absent-mindedly go through the motions... then you'll risk injury.

Focus your mind on what you're doing... feel the movement of your muscles... and have fun.

The 8 Pieces of Brocade with Mimi Kuo-Deemer
The 8 Pieces of Brocade with Andrew Plitt

Cheers, :-P
"Before Enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After Enlightenment chop wood, carry water." -- Zen proverb
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Re: Stretching/flexibility program recommendations

Postby Daydream » Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:06 am

There are a ton of free gentle yoga videos on YouTube. Here are a couple:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FSzZdFYkVU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCv4tagvnXg

If you want to buy a DVD, I love Deep Stretch Yin Yoga with Mimi Solaire--it is gentle and relaxing:

https://www.amazon.com/Deep-Stretch-Yog ... 203&sr=8-1
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Re: Stretching/flexibility program recommendations

Postby MickeysBackyard » Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:58 am

Thank you both for the recommendations!! I want to start stretching work next week and will check all of these out.

Sirdle, I completely agree and need to get my mind in the right place. I also find that my mind wanders and I don't really pay attention, then start thinking about how much time is left before I can go do something else! I'll try your technique ASAP. Hopefully that will be the breakthrough I need to take this seriously!
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Re: Stretching/flexibility program recommendations

Postby sirdle » Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:44 am

... and remember: in terms of stretching, pain is never good. It's okay to feel mild tension, but if you push beyond that I think the muscle tenses up to protect it from tearing, which is the exact opposite of what you want to achieve.

Cheers, :-P
"Before Enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After Enlightenment chop wood, carry water." -- Zen proverb
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Re: Stretching/flexibility program recommendations

Postby PJK » Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:55 am

I recommend Classical Stretch with Miranda Esmonde-White.
http://classicalstretch.com/

She has a few books. Plus DVDs and a streaming service.

There's also a half-hour TV program. My local cable provider offers it at 6 am, so I DVR it for later workouts.

She's a former dancer, and the workouts involve a lot of dance-like movements. They're designed to make you stronger and more flexible. And they're fun! Worth a try.
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Re: Stretching/flexibility program recommendations

Postby MickeysBackyard » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:33 am

Thanks PJK, I'll check it out!!
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