Welcome to the 5th issue in the Fit Daddy Fundamentals mini-series! In this issue we are going to talk about Fundamental number five, Stretch Goals.
When it comes to our health and fitness, it's easy to think about the big three (Move Daily, Eat Clean, and Sleep Deep) and leave it at that.
But just like last week when we talked about the importance of integrating and teaching our kids into our health and fitness journey, there is another crucial element to staying in shape and feeling great.
As we grow older, our body changes
This is like the start of puberty class, right? Different direction though...
When we're young, our flexibility and our mobility protect us from injury and we take it for granted.
As we get a little older, but we're still on the younger side -- call it our 20s -- we might still stretch, have reasonable mobility, and stay active.
But a range of motion begins to decline, mostly because we pay no attention to it.
Roughly speaking, once our kids are born, our energetic barrier spikes. We stop moving.
We rarely stretch.
And our range of motion begins to significantly decrease.
We become more injury prone and begin to suffer from pain due to various sources (tight back? Sore knees? Old injury?)
And because of that, our health declines further.
We don't move much because... it hurts.
And before we know it, we are old and stiff.
We have low or notability. And then what happens?
Stick with me here.... you might think this is silly now, but let's look into the future.
Falls happen... a lot.
Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans:
One in four Americans age 65 plus falls each year,
Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall
Every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
In addition to strength training, which we'll cover in a future edition, stretching is a mandatory warm-up and recovery activity to keep you as mobile and nimble as possible for the rest of your life.
Benefits of Stretching
I like to say your health and fitness is the engine of your daily life. And stretching is the oil that keeps your body running smoothly for a long life.
So what are the benefits of stretching?
Here are several:
The net effect is that you'll have healthy muscles and joints that operate as designed with less friction (physical and mental).
And your body will just feel good.
Today this might mean you can squat lower, run longer, or waking less stiff.
Tomorrow, this might mean that something as basic as bending over to pick something up off the floor, visiting the grandkids, or still going to the gym - isn't a risky, potentially fatal activity.
Stretching doesn't take long, and it's a huge point of leverage for the rest of your daily life, now and into the future.
How to Stretch
There are two major types of stretching.
The most important thing to remember is that dynamic stretching should be done pre-workout; and static stretching should be done post-workout.
That means: do not do static stretches cold.
I repeat, despite what you learned in gym class decades ago...
Do not do static stretches cold.
Before you start a workout, a run, some 5-on-5, or your next wrestling match with your kids, you've got to warm up with some dynamic stretching and even a pre-stretch routine, if you're starting out really cold.
Here's that pre-stretch routine to get the blood flowing and break off some of the rust:
And here's that list of my favorite dynamic stretches:
After your workout, while you're still warm, here is a static stretching routine that I recommend:
Warrior Side Stretch
Cross Arm Stretch
Now, you don't have to do all of them, every single time, but it is good to have a set routine of a subset stretches that you do every time.
And when you're feeling a little extra tight in one spot, or have done something active (or inactive) that you normally don't do, add some specialize stretches into the mix.
What To Do Next
For the next seven days, I'm challenging you to pick five+ dynamic stretches and pick five+ static stretches to implement with your Move Daily habit, or existing exercise routine.
Notice how good you feel while you're stretching and in the hours after.
And if you really wanna make the stick...
Teach it to your family. Do it with the kids.
Heck even post it online, tell people about your new dynamic and static stretching routine. (And don't forget to tag @fitdaddy365!)
That's it. Nice and simple.
I hope you're having a wonderful weekend. And I'll talk with you again soon!
P.S. Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:
1. FREE RESOURCES
The Daily Kickstarter: This is the simple daily workout that I've done 1,510 days in a row. It's more powerful than it might seem. Get It Now
2. DEEP-DIVE DIGITAL COURSES FOR DADS
The Fit Dad Mindset: Self-paced courses that teach you to how to build a strong mindset and prioritize your health and fitness. Join Now
3. COACHING PROGRAMS BUILT FOR YOUR DADLIFE
The Fit Daddy Blueprint: Take full control of your health and fitness to get results faster with life-changing coaching programs. Learn More Now