Enhance Your Flexibility without Stretching a Thing…

by Robin Nielsen

This is a picture of my pretty toes right before I went surfing this past Sunday…just before I slipped my warm booties on over them to dip into the cold waters of Santa Cruz. As I get ready to go surfing each time, I think about my flexibility. How is my body feeling? Where am I tight?

Maybe you wake up in the morning feeling stiff and tight.

I do some minor stretching before I go out in the water or onto the tennis court so that I can “play”” better, but I am really bad in this area! Do you stretch before you exercise?
I carry my “tightness” in my neck and shoulders. Part of it is heredity and part of it is learned poor behavior (i.e. working on the computer too much and being the “queen” of doing). Sound familiar? I am not as tight or stiff as I might otherwise be because of the diet I eat and the good rest I get. Believe me, it’s not due to all the stretching I do!
Here’s the scoop on how to ward off a tight, stiff body that only makes us feel old. Stay flexible and vibrant by following these simple tips.
  • Get good sleep – at least 8 hours, uninterrupted night every night
You may wonder why sleep has an impact on our flexibility.  Even the most modest amount of sleep restriction raises inflammation which causes stiffness in our bodies.
  • Eat good protein (free range, organic) such as wild caught fish, beef, chicken, whey and eggs
Protein contains calming and relaxing amino acids like taurine and theanine that help us to relax.
  • Eat lots of vegetables: eat a rainbow to get a wide variety of nutrients – try some sea veggies too like kombu (use like a bay leaf – toss when finished) in your soups to add lots of amazing minerals, or arame which is also great for the skin.
Vegetables contain vital minerals that help us to relax and maintain a more balanced pH. People who are “mineral rich” are more flexible and cramp less due to the higher levels of magnesium, calcium, potassium and sodium found in rich vegetable sources.
  • Supplements: if you still need some support to get flexible, try the following:
  1. Green food – a powder made from vegetables and fruits with lots of good nutrients.
  2. Extra magnesium: it is a muscle relaxer (too much, though and you’ll have diarrhea so try the chelated form) – try 250mg-500mg at lunch and before bed or try an epsom salt bath.
  3. Taurine and theanine: these amino acids (breakdown of protein) are very relaxing – you can try this supplement as it contains both – Stress Arrest
  4. Calcium and magnesium are very important for muscle function – try them in equal amounts of 250-500mg 2 times daily (use the chelated form)
(With supplements, work with a health care professional if you have questions or specific needs.)
  • Breathe deeply during the day. Short, or shallow breathing causes tight, stressed muscles, and we all do it! So, when you hit the bathroom, breathe. It will help you get into the routine of deep breathing to relax.

Get flexible! You will feel better and will grow younger. That’s a big woo hoo!