Fitness Tips from Fitness 2J2: Flexibility to stability to overall fitness
- Joel Pedersen | March 07, 2016
Just back from La Ronge at the end of February, Churchill Community HighSchool. Shout outs to PE Teacher Julie Andrews and her crew, and the community for working hard during the week. So stoked to be able to share with Eagle Feather readers about the Aboriginal Fitness Leader Preparatory Program. This dynamic group will be learning at the Gordon Oaks Center at the UofS and at St. Mary’s Health & Wellness Center over the next six weeks.
Last week while going through a Functional Fitness session one of the youth asked me: “Why are we always doing this crazy stretching, and you’re talking about flexibility?” This brought a couple others asking the same question. I smiled, and I asked a general question, about who their favorite athletes were, and sports and games. The link was that in order to be competitive and stronger you need good joint mobility, muscle flexibility which leads to better joint stability and then to overall strength.
So here’s an example, people who feel they have tight hamstring muscles (back of the legs) and they try to increase their flexibility by stretching them out. Most of the time it’s not the hamstrings that are the only problem, it’s a lack of overall mobility at the hips. This causes the lack of stability, so if we work on hip mobility this will allow better alignment for the hips which will help the hamstrings.
When I am talking about flexibility, this is about length of muscle, improving range of motion. Usually best done by stretching both dynamic and static, this is a part of mobility. How freely a joint can move through its full range of motion is mobility. Muscle length, tension/tissue quality and how our nervous system controls how the joint comes into play. Foam rolling/massage, good stretching and good exercise are all needed for joint mobility. Stability is all about good alignment so our bones can take most of the stress. (This is another reason to listen to your Kokum, when she tells you to drink milk, so you can grow strong bones!) The take away on this is, if you lack mobility then you start using: muscles; tendons; and ligaments to take up the slack, causing stress on the connective tissue around the bone joint spots.
The key to getting stronger and fitter is in improving mobility so we can have better joint alignment. Poor alignment will cause a decrease in stability, and since strength and power are built on stability they will be affected.
Not all of us can do extreme yoga or pilates poses or even sit crosslegged, take five to ten mins out of your day here are a couple simple stretches you can try to loosen tight muscles and regain some flexibility and mobility:
Stretch#1. Sitting upright, one leg straight out in front, bend other leg and pull to chest. Try to keep both feet flexed. Hug that bent leg close as you can to your chest and breathe. Switch.
Stretch#2. Cross-legged, sitting up tall to lengthen spine, lean forward slowly, continue to lean forward as you stretch. Switch left and right.
Stretch#3. Same as stretch before, this time stack your feet together, lean forward.
Stretch#4. Sitting tall, one leg again straight out in front. Bend other leg, place that foot on your straight leg, foot flexed, ankle straight. You can move that foot slowly towards your knee or your body. Press into the bent knee and lean into the stretch.
March 8 will mark the one year for the loss to family and friends of Max Pedersen. In honour of Max, the Saskatoon Aurora Soccer Club has made an award for fair play to the MVP during the Harder Cup summer tournament, and has placed a memorial shadow box at the soccer center in Saskatoon. Fitness 2J2 will provide a bursary open to High School and Post-Secondary students in Max's honour. Max wanted to give back to community, and to see people with healthy and positive lifestyles.
Fitness 2J2 is a socially responsible community based health and wellness company. Contributing to the success and vitality of our communities, promoting healthy and positive lifestyles for Aboriginal people of all ages and abilities. STRONG HEALTHY PROUD.
Related: In Memory of Max