The Daily Battle – 2

09 Oct 2013

I HATE stretching. I’m no good at it. I’ve never been thorough with it. Not stretching has caused me problems.

Why don’t I just do it then ?

Well, I do try now, but it’s one of my weakest links in the chain of daily practices for ensuring that my health doesn’t go down the swanny as I continue to age.
Thanks to my physical transformation 2 years ago I now look and feel 10 years younger than I did back then, but if I don’t master more regular stretching as a daily or weekly practice then looking better and feeling better is not going to balance with a stiff and unsupple body.

Clearly the best of the best would just write that I should get up every morning and warm up and stretch all parts of the body. That I should participate in regular yoga and other body stretching sessions. Yes, I agree, but I am resistant to change in this area of my life. Ironically even though I espouse regular change and sitting on the edge of your comfort zone throughout this website, blog and my coaching activities.

We can’t be good at everything, right ? Well, I’d agree and disagree. I’d agree that we can’t be the best at everything. I’d agree that we can’t do everything all of the time. However, there are a number of important things that one must do as one ages if one would like to continue to do the things one likes to do. Eating well and being active in body and mind are things we all know we should do, yet how many of us do that consistently well? I know I didn’t and that’s why I got into trouble with my health. Stretching is further down the priority list when comparing with eating well and being active in body and mind, yet it still plays an integral and highly important role in improving or maintaining great health as we age.

I know it’s one of my Achilles heels and so I have to force myself as part of the Daily Battle to do just a little bit at a time. I am more aware of the need to stretch today as yesterday I paid a visit to my fantastic Physio. I’d recently pulled a muscle in my lower back and so I went in for a good pummelling and remodelling of the tissue around my lower spine. It is amazing the damage that my Physio has repaired over the last few years. Back problems that many would just moan off as old age. “Oh, I’ve always had that”, or “Ah, it’s just my age, can’t do anything about that now”, or “Well, an old rugby or football injury, no point in trying to do something with that now”. I’d have probably said the same a few years ago, had my health problems not gotten worse than just muscular aches and pains. It is amazing what you find you can improve and even reverse if you put in a bit of effort, and even see a specialist or two. For very little investment in time, money and effort (relatively speaking) you can make your life a whole lot better.
Stretching is part and parcel of my rehabilitation of my back and so I make the effort to do what I can. I know I should do more, but I’m at least doing something.

What stretching do you do ? How regularly ? What techniques have you uncovered to speed things up ? Any shortcuts ? Any tricks for implementing it into your day without you realising it or procrastinating on it ? I’ll tell you more of my tips another time.

Have a great day.

Tags: Body
  • Michal

    Stretching? I did it only as a teenager on my ju-jitsu trainigs.

    But your story made me aware (again!) that the setbacks and obstacles are good. If you hadn’t your health ruined, you wouldn’t have your transformation, would you?
    And my tip is: blend streching with some other activity, important to you. I find physical exercises plainly boring. So I listen to podcasts during morning workout and I say my morning prayer during my HIIT workout. Those activities are blended together, if I don’t do my physical activiries I won’t do my mental activities. So I do them 😉

    • Matthew Gibbs

      Thanks for your comment Michal. My poor health was a big factor, but improving my wife’s condition and want of something better for my son were bigger driving forces for me to start and continue with my transformation. I like your use of the term “blending”. I think it’s important there is more dialogue on the Internet about the need to learn skills and blend/layer/stack activities (daily practices) rather than just plain old talk about superfoods or HIIT, which seems to take up a lot of discussion space in the health and wellbeing arena. Superfoods and HIIT are way too advanced for most people and hence I believe it’s usually a breakdown in health or wealth or relationships that leads people to explore these things on their journey to improve whatever in their life went pear-shaped. For most other people I think there need to be stepping stones towards those advanced things. Too much to discuss in a single reply – I’ll elaborate more in another Daily Battle post sometime.