Stop That Stretching!

Nov 24 09:24 2009 Daniel Vic Clay Print This Article

We all do it!  When we get out of bed, and sometimes, before we get out of bed, we have a good stretch.  We do it in the same habitual way as we brush our teeth or comb our hair. Some of us even touch our toes a few times whilst waiting for the kettle to boil for our first cuppa of the day.

The problem here is that we really have to stop stretching as it’s not doing us any good.

This is what Anat Baniel,Guest Posting body fitness expert and author of Move Into Life: The Nine Essentials for Lifelong Vitality, from Harmony Books (, has to say about it.  She firmly believes that the activity of stretching goes against the grain as far as the health and longevity of our muscles are concerned. 

"Muscles aren't meant to be stretched like that," she says. "Muscles are meant to contract and relax. Stretching them puts stress on them, and rips muscle fibers, forcing them to constantly repair themselves after each time you stretch. Your body's movement shouldn't cause repeated damage. It should be more harmonious, and flow naturally."

Anat Baniel does believe in the habit of touching our toes but she has come up with a way of doing it that helps to increase flexibility and movement without in any way damaging your muscles. 

Anat is aware that for most of us attempting to touch our toes whilst in the standing position only shows us exactly how far out of reach they.  For this reason she has devised a new method which consists of just a few variations and but makes a noticeable difference.  Try having a go at this.

1. Firstly, in standing position spread your feet comfortably.  Bend down gently and allow your hands to drift towards your feet.  Take note of how far you go and return to an upright position.

2. Stand once more and spread your legs comfortably. With your knees bent place your right hand slightly above your right knee on your thigh.  Do the same with your left hand on your left knee.  Then lean the weight of your upper body onto your legs via your hands.  Round your back and looking down at your belly, pull it in.  Gently arch your back and push your belly outwards at the same time as lifting your head and looking upwards.  Repeat this routine 4 or 5 times.

3. Return to standing position and bend forward taking your hands down in the direction of your feet.  Can you feel any change yet?  

4. Stand with feet spread and knees a little bent and now lean with both hands on your left leg, again just above the knee.  In a gentle and slow movement round your back whilst looking downwards then arch your back and free your belly muscles pushing them out at the same time as looking upwards.  Do this 4 or 5 times too. Rest for a moment and feel how you stand. 

5. Stand with slightly bent and spread knees and lean forward with both hands on your right knee this time.  Do the same as before and in a gentle movement slowly round your back whilst looking downwards.  Then arch your back, allowing your belly muscles to be pushed out and free and look upwards.   Repeat 4 or 5 times. 

6. Stand up straight with comfortably spread feet and simply bend down.  Is this easier than it was before?

Follow Anat Baniel´s recommendation now to see if your toes are closer to your hands.

This should be the case as the variations carried out in the above-mentioned exercises provide your brain with what it needs to know in order to work out how to let go of tight muscles and tendons.  This enables you to accomplish far more than you would ever have done by stretching.  

Source: Free Guest Posting Articles from

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Daniel Vic Clay
Daniel Vic Clay

Dan Clay is the owner of Dangerously Fit Boot Camp. If you would like to book a free 2 week trial to his Randwick personal trainer or Centennial Park running group class visit Sydney outdoor boot camp.

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