We Can Challenge Week 6: Stretch for 10 minutes per day | TahoeDailyTribune.com

We Can Challenge Week 6: Stretch for 10 minutes per day

Seth Martin
Special to the Tribune

Flexibility is a commonly overlooked part of your child’s fitness and health. While speed, strength, and endurance can be more easily shown or practiced flexibility is a little less obvious.

One common misunderstanding when flexibility is discussed is the idea that a student must be able to do the splits or some extreme move to show they are flexible. For most kids being able to stretch properly without poor form, and to move their bodies with a full range of motion is a sign of being flexible and of being in good health.

Lacking flexibility has some major drawbacks that should be avoided. People with a lack of flexibility are more likely to be injured during activities and falls. In addition a lack of flexibility could affect form in sports like golf where proper range of motion is needed for a good swing.

Exercise Physiologists believe that one of the best times to stretch is at the end of activity when the muscles are warmed up. This also gets the muscles just as they begin to tighten up which may also help with soreness. Many groups have actually found that stretching prior to activity, specifically activity that requires bursts of power can actually reduce power output, and that a dynamic warm-up is much more beneficial at the beginning. So try to stretch at the end of activity when doing activities requiring power.

In the end stretching is one of the five components of health related fitness and needs to be treated with the same level of importance as the others.

– Seth Martin is the California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports’ Teacher of the Year 2010. Students at Lake Tahoe Unified School District, Zephyr Cove Elementary School and-the Boys & Girls Club participate in the We Can! program, which is hosted-by Barton Health. Find-out more at http://www.wecansouthlaketahoe.com.