I’ve been doing this whole fitness thing for over half a century now and while I am well acquainted with stretching and the substantial list of benefits one can enjoy from the endeavor, once again I find myself regretting my lack of discipline to actually partake in the act. The pain-killers should kick in soon, and I will go about my day, albeit gingerly, so I am writing this story, which is as much in rebuke to myself as it is sage advice to others, in hopes that it will help someone.
When men are young, their bodies are composed almost entirely of rubber. Rubber joints, rubber bones, and at times, rubber brains. Especially it would seem, when it comes to tests of courage, athletic ability, endurance, andany potentially comedic circumstance. The debts we accrue through wear and tear on our bodies during our youth are paid for with aches and pains in our later years.
Which brings me back to stretching.
Muscle tissue is used to move our bodies but in order to do that, muscle tissue is attached to bone, typically in a joint, by tendons and ligaments, or what we call connective tissue. Connective tissue is less pliable than muscle tissue. If the muscle tissue is not warmed up and stretched before exercise it is less pliable so any strain on that muscle caused by exercise puts extra tension on the connective tissue. That strain where the connective tissue attaches to the bone can become inflamed, damaged or even torn from the bone.
Inflamed connective tissue is painful. It’s the most common cause of joint pain in shoulders, elbows, knees, and low back pain. Inflamed connective tissue is often caused by a lack of muscle flexibility and, therefore, can be solved by doing stretching exercises consistently each day.
Most gyms have stretching classes but if you don’t want to go to a gym you can do a youtube search, find some good stretching routines and just do it at home.
I have posted links to some videos you may find helpful.