Stretching For Dummies

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-02-05
  • Publisher: For Dummies

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Did you long ago learn to fear and dread stretching because of overbearing P.E. teachers who forced you to touch your toes? It doesn't have to be that way anymore. Stretching is a powerful tool that can bring you new ease of movement, an increase in your physical capabilities, and deep composure that requires you to do nothing more than breathe. You can always have access to it-and best of all, it's free! Stretching for Dummies shows you that stretching is actually easy to do-and reveals how you can reap the amazing benefits of stretching anywhere, anytime. It explains in simple terms how you can stand taller, look thinner, keep stress from getting the best of you, keep your muscles from feeling achy, and nip injuries in the bud. You'll discover: The why's, where's, when's, and how's of letting loose and snapping back How to keep from hurting yourself The benefits of stretching with a partner How to target specific areas: such as head, shoulders, knees, and toes The art of breathing correctly How to use stretching to sooth lower back pain Stretches to start and end your day right Stretches you can do at your desk Stretches for various stages of life-including stretches for kids and seniors This easy-to-use reference also includes a list of ten surprising around-the house stretching accessories, along with ten common aches and pain that stretching can help. Regardless of how old or young you are, Stretching for Dummies will introduce you to a kinder and gentler form of flexibility that will reduce that nagging tension and tenderness in your muscles and truly make you feel good all over.

Author Biography

LaReine Chabut is a lifestyle and fitness expert, model, and mom. She’s the author of Exercise Balls For Dummies (Wiley) and Lose That Baby Fat! (M. Evans) and is a contributing fitness expert for Shape Fit Pregnancy magazine. LaReine has served as the lead instructor for America’s number one exercise video series The Firm (over three million copies sold worldwide) and has graced the covers of such high-profile fitness publications as Shape, Health, New Body, and Runner’s World. She has appeared on CNN, ABC, FOX News, EXTRA, Access Hollywood, Good Day LA, and KABC and is a premier trainer for Ipods (see www.podfitness.com/lareinechabut) along with Kathy Smith, David Kirsch, and other top trainers in their field.
As an actress, LaReine penned a sitcom with Meg Ryan entitled Below the Radar for the Fox Network and Castle Rock Entertainment. She has co-written and starred in two short films: Separation Anxiety, which broadcast on Lifetime Television, and Good Jill Hunting, which aired on the Sundance Channel. Her series regular and guest starring appearances include Linc’s, Nash Bridges, The Secret World of Alex Mack, USA High, The Single Guy, Strange Luck, Murder She Wrote, and Quantum Leap, to name a handful.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
About This Bookp. 1
Conventions Used in This Bookp. 2
What You're Not to Readp. 2
Foolish Assumptionsp. 2
How This Book Is Organizedp. 2
The Why's, Where's, When's, and How's of Letting Loose and Snapping Backp. 3
Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes: Targeting Specific Areasp. 3
From The Daily Grind to Ways to Unwind: Routines to Fit Your Life and Needsp. 3
Getting Limber As You Live: Stretches for Various Life Stagesp. 4
The Part of Tensp. 4
Icons Used in This Bookp. 4
Where to Go from Herep. 5
The Why's, Where's, When's, and How's of Letting Loose and Snapping Backp. 7
Here a Stretch, There a Stretch, Everywhere a Stretch, Stretchp. 9
The Why's of Stretchingp. 9
You stand taller, look thinner, and your body works its bestp. 9
You can twist farther and feel looserp. 10
You help nip injuries in the budp. 10
You keep stress from getting the best of youp. 11
You keep your muscles from feeling achyp. 11
The FAQs When It Comes to Stretchingp. 11
When should I stretch?p. 12
How often should I stretch a particular muscle?p. 12
How long should I hold each stretch?p. 12
How intense should the stretch be?p. 13
Should I see a doctor before I begin a stretching program?p. 13
Should I stretch my muscles in a particular sequence?p. 13
Differentiating between Two Types of Stretchesp. 14
Static stretchesp. 14
Dynamic stretchesp. 15
When One Just Ain't Enough: Stretching with a Partnerp. 15
Isometric stretchingp. 16
Static-isometric-static stretchingp. 16
The Science of Stretchingp. 16
What happens inside my muscles when I stretch them?p. 16
What is flexibility?p. 17
How can I keep my muscles and joints stretched?p. 17
Preparing for a More Flexible Youp. 19
Getting Your Stretch On: The How To's of Stretchingp. 19
Creating space fit for stretchingp. 19
Getting dressedp. 20
Give Yourself Props! How to Personalize Each Stretchp. 20
Strap or towelp. 21
Blocksp. 21
Chairp. 21
Swiss ballp. 22
Foam rollerp. 22
Refraining from Hurting Yourselfp. 23
Warm-upp. 23
Go slowlyp. 23
Don't bouncep. 24
Progress through the stretchp. 24
Remember to breathep. 25
Know your limitsp. 25
Maintaining Proper Body Alignmentp. 25
Don't slouch (Darn it - Mom's right again)p. 26
Introducing the neutral spinep. 26
Positioning your pelvisp. 26
The Art of Breathing Correctlyp. 27
Relaxing and Letting Gop. 27
Testing Your Flexibility to Establish Your Stretching Routinep. 29
Coming to Terms with the Factors of Flexibilityp. 29
What you can changep. 29
What you can't changep. 30
Testing Yourself Before (and While, and After) You Go Gumby-Likep. 31
Putting Your Legs Where Your Head Is...Not: The Flexibility Self-Testp. 32
Neckp. 33
Shouldersp. 34
Chestp. 35
Trunkp. 35
Quadricepsp. 39
Hamstringsp. 40
Groinp. 40
Buttocksp. 42
Calvesp. 43
Flexibility Self-Evaluation Worksheetp. 44
Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes: Targeting Specific Areasp. 45
Taking It from the Top: Upper Body Stretchesp. 47
Before You Move, Contemplate Upper Body Anatomyp. 47
What a Pain in the Neck! Stretches to Keep Your Head Held Highp. 48
Lateral head tiltp. 48
Neck rotation with tiltp. 50
Neck rotationp. 51
The Hot Seat for Tension: Getting Your Shoulders to Chill Outp. 52
Middle of shoulder stretchp. 53
Back of shoulder stretchp. 54
Shoulder rotation stretchp. 55
Stretches for Carrying Someone on Your Latsp. 56
Lat stretch on all foursp. 56
Supported upper back stretchp. 57
Seated upper back stretchp. 58
Both Sexes, Take Care! The Kneeling Chest Stretchp. 59
Making Wiggly Muscles Firm: Stretches for the Dreaded Upper Armp. 60
Back of the arms stretchp. 61
Triceps stretch with towel or strapp. 62
Standing biceps stretchp. 62
Helping You Hold Your Extra-Large Handbag: Wrist and Forearm Stretchesp. 64
Wrist stretch on hands and kneesp. 64
Standing open-arm wrist stretchp. 65
Centering on the Core: Stretches for Your Middlep. 67
Active Stretches as Part of the Day-to-Dayp. 68
Step back with overhead reachp. 68
Alternating side reach with hip stretchp. 69
The chopp. 71
Static Stretches for Your Corep. 72
Back extension (for your abdominals - go figure)p. 72
Lying spinal rotationp. 73
Spinal rotation for back and buttocksp. 74
Soothing Your Lower Back without Paying for a Massagep. 77
Traveling Around the Lower Backp. 77
An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Pain-Free Mobilityp. 78
Seated forward bendp. 78
Standing forward bendp. 80
Standing pelvic tiltsp. 81
Shoulder stand with knees bentp. 82
Opposite arm and leg extensionp. 83
Releasing Tension in Your Achy, Breaky Backp. 84
Alternating knee hugsp. 85
Mini back massagep. 86
Lying buttocks and hip stretch, legs crossedp. 87
The cow and the catp. 89
Hip flexor stretch on one kneep. 89
From Your Knickers to Your Kickers: Stretches for your Bottom Halfp. 93
Behind the Scenes: Hips and Buttocksp. 94
Runner's lungep. 95
Lying buttocks stretch with foot to opposite shoulderp. 96
Buttocks stretchp. 97
Seated external rotator stretchp. 98
Tight End: Back of the Thighp. 98
Lying leg extensionp. 99
Standing stretch with foot on chairp. 100
Modified hurdler stretchp. 101
Forward Thinking: Front of Thighsp. 102
Ankle to buttocks, on your sidep. 102
Heel to buttocks, facedownp. 103
Standing stretch, knee toward buttocksp. 104
Becoming Master of Your Inner Thighsp. 106
Standing groin stretchp. 106
Seated straddle stretchp. 107
Putting Your Best Foot (And Lower Leg) Forwardp. 108
Standing calf stretchp. 108
Achilles tendon stretch on one kneep. 109
Kneeling shin stretchp. 110
On your hands and knees: Bottom of foot stretchp. 111
Lying ankle circlesp. 112
Total-Body Stretch Routinesp. 115
Getting to Your Whole Body in Just Ten Minutesp. 115
Deep breathing exercisep. 116
Lying pelvic tiltsp. 117
Lying arm circlesp. 118
Lying spinal rotation with bent kneesp. 119
Lying neck stretchp. 120
Standing hamstring stretch with chairp. 121
Standing inner thigh stretch with chairp. 122
Standing quad stretch with supportp. 123
Standing chest stretchp. 124
When You Just Can't Get Enough: Ten More Minutes of Stretchingp. 125
Seated buttocks and hip stretchp. 125
Seated foot and ankle stretchesp. 126
Seated triceps stretch with side reachp. 127
Seated lateral shoulder stretchp. 128
Seated forward bendp. 129
Standing wrist stretchp. 130
Standing forearm stretchp. 131
Standing side reachp. 132
From the Daily Grind to Ways to Unwind: Routines to Fit Your Life and Needsp. 135
When the Cock Crows and the Evening Wind Blows: AM/PM Stretch Routinesp. 137
A Good Excuse to Stay in Bed: Stretches to Start the Dayp. 137
Supine alternating knee to chestp. 138
Both knees to chestp. 139
Spinal rotation with bent kneesp. 140
Total body stretchp. 141
A Midafternoon Pick-Me-Upp. 142
Overhead forward arm swingsp. 142
Standing spinal twist with overhead reachp. 143
Lengthening back extensionp. 144
Winding Down before Heading for Dreamlandp. 145
Standing calf stretchp. 145
Lying hip openerp. 146
Lying stretch to take a load off neck and shouldersp. 148
Lying buttocks and hip stretch with legs crossedp. 148
Stretching Out the Workday: Stretches for Work and for the Roadp. 151
Get Off Your Buttocks!p. 151
Standing chest stretchp. 152
Standing abdominal stretchp. 153
Standing side reach with legs crossedp. 154
Standing hamstring and calf stretchp. 155
Standing hip flexor stretchp. 156
Stretches for the Professional Desk Jockeyp. 157
Shoulders and neck stretch with circlesp. 157
Chest stretchp. 158
Seated spinal rotationp. 159
Seated forward bendp. 160
Wrist and forearm stretchp. 161
Seated ankle circlesp. 162
Basic Warm-Up and Cool-Down Stretch Routinesp. 165
Easing into Your Workoutp. 165
The big deal about warming upp. 165
Making stretching a part of your warm-upp. 166
A Great Routine to Warm Your Bodyp. 167
Dynamic stretches for the warm-upp. 167
The chopp. 169
Static stretches for the warm-upp. 170
Moving Out of Your Exercise Session: Why and How to Cool Downp. 175
Basic Cool-Down Routinep. 175
Seated side reachp. 176
Seated back and neck stretchp. 177
Butterfly stretchp. 178
Seated hamstring stretchp. 179
Seated twist with one leg extendedp. 180
Seated straddle stretchp. 180
Side lying quad stretchp. 182
Back extension and abdominal stretchp. 183
Wrist stretch on all foursp. 184
Hip flexor stretch on one kneep. 184
My Favorite Stretches for Specific Sportsp. 187
Guidelines You Don't Want to Skipp. 187
Running and Hikingp. 188
Gluteal stretchp. 188
Calf stretchp. 189
Racquet Sportsp. 190
Wrist and forearm stretchp. 190
Kneeling chest stretchp. 192
Basketballp. 192
Step back with overhead reachp. 192
Triceps stretchp. 193
Footballp. 194
Side and back of neck stretchp. 194
Outer thigh stretchp. 196
Swimmingp. 196
Shoulder stretch with towel or strapp. 196
Deltoid stretchp. 197
Skiingp. 198
Standing buttocks stretchp. 198
Lying quad stretchp. 200
Soccerp. 200
Squat stretch for your inner thighsp. 201
Seated buttocks stretchp. 202
Cyclingp. 202
Supported upper back stretchp. 203
Lunging quad stretchp. 204
Getting Limber As you Live: Stretches for Various Life Stagesp. 205
What to Stretch When You're Expecting...and Afterp. 207
How Stretching Can Help if You're Pregnantp. 207
Stretches for the Pregnant Ladyp. 208
Pelvic circlesp. 208
Extended arm pulse for your upper backp. 209
The C-shape that targets your total backp. 210
Knee raise for your lower backp. 210
Stretches for After the Bun's out of the Ovenp. 212
Upper body stretchesp. 212
Lower body stretchesp. 213
Family Fun: Kid-Friendly Stretchesp. 217
Enticing Children to Get Off Their Tushesp. 217
Creative Stretches for 4-to-8-Year-Oldsp. 218
Reach for the stars!p. 219
The sealp. 220
The dinosaur walkp. 221
The flamingop. 222
Sports Stretches for 9- to 12-Year-Oldsp. 223
Butterfly stretchp. 224
Modified hurdler stretchp. 225
Straddle stretchp. 226
Runner's lungep. 227
Standing quad stretchp. 228
Reaching down your back, elbows highp. 229
Shoulder pullp. 230
Backward arch on a ballp. 231
Seventh Inning Stretch: Special Stuff for Seniorsp. 233
Determining Your Limits and Recognizing Changesp. 233
A Stretch Routine to Help You Maintain Flexibilityp. 234
Back and shoulders stretchp. 234
Standing side reach with chair for supportp. 235
Seated hamstring stretchp. 236
Seated inner thigh and groin stretchp. 237
Seated hip flexor and quadriceps stretchp. 238
Seated spinal rotationp. 239
Wrist and forearm stretchp. 240
Seated chest and front of shoulder stretchp. 241
The Part of Tensp. 243
Ten Common Aches and Pains and Stretches that Can Helpp. 245
Bursitis and/or Tendonitisp. 245
Carpal Tunnel Syndromep. 246
Indigestionp. 246
Insomniap. 247
Low Back Painp. 247
Menstrual Crampsp. 247
Plantar Fasciitisp. 247
Sciaticap. 248
Stressp. 248
Tension Headachesp. 248
Ten Surprising Around-the-House Stretching Accessoriesp. 249
A Big, Thick Bookp. 249
A Chairp. 250
A Ceiling Beam in Your House or Garagep. 250
A Sofap. 250
A Deskp. 250
A Doorwayp. 251
Fireplace Toolsp. 251
A Towelp. 251
A Porch Stepp. 252
A Wallp. 252
Indexp. 253
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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