Stretching Exercises Encyclopedia by Oscar Moran, Isabel Arechabala
Book PrefaceStretching Exercises Encyclopedia by Oscar Moran, Isabel Arechabala
The human body is, if one can forgive the expression, tremendously conservative. People, like most living creatures, are designed to feed, reproduce and avoid danger. All energy expenditures beyond these basic abilities are unusual among those beings who are less developed than us, from an intelligence point of view. However, as we move up in the evolutionary chain, we find movements designed for socializing, enjoyment, etc. If human beings do not need to stretch in order to carry out their daily lives, they may possibly not find the need to do so.
But, if they do not stretch, with the passing of time, their bodies will become clumsier, more painful, incapable, etc. It is of no use to look at oneself in the mirror and not stop asking the reasons why, one needs to exercise or stretch, until one feels “in shape” again. This feeling of being in good shape is so imperceptible that one only becomes aware of it once it has been lost. Therefore, the smart thing to do is to not abandon it.
Turning to nature once again, if we look at the animals, we find that they perform stretches routinely. Some of the better “athletes” in the animal world – like cats – do so very frequently, and they maintain their bodies ready for hunting and to avoid becoming prey to others.
In most of today´s societies, human beings do not need to be in such good shape to survive, and the abilities of mobility are the first to be detrimentally affected by the sedentary lifestyle. However, in addition to making people more efficient at the physical level, which implies better athletic performance in some cases and a greater capacity to perform the activities of daily living in others, this book will show how regular stretching also has an effect upon the health and well-being of the individual.
Unfortunately, stretching has been largely forgotten by the people who exercise, whether regularly or sporadically. The reason could be the few aesthetic effects that are derived from its practice, at least compared to strength and resistance training, which mold the body´s figure in a much more dramatic way. In modalities such as yoga, the stretches are the base and philosophy of its very essence; in dance, they are an essential complement; but in the practice of sports, they are usually reduced to a few seconds before and after the performance of the sport in question, and sometimes not even that. However, what many people don’t realize is that a more agile and “flexible” body is also more proportioned from an aesthetic point of view and, as we have pointed out before, it is also more healthy.
In the book Muscle Exercises Encyclopedia (Morán, 2012) from the same publishing company, it is pointed out that a kyphotic posture (commonly called “hunchback”), in many cases, is caused by a lack of tone in the muscles of the back (dorsal, lumbar, etc.) combined with a hypertonicity and lack of flexibility of the anterior muscle (abdominal, pectoral, etc.). This is just an example of how a well-balanced body also needs to be flexible.
After reading this book, any athlete, and even those who are not athletes, will realize how regular stretching can improve their physical body shape and their quality of life.
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|January 31, 2017|
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