Why Stretching Our Bodies, Not Just Our Minds, Matters In the Digital Age
Words by Marques Harper
Words by Marques Harper
Let’s face the truth: Some of us spend way too much time paying attention to computer screens, smart phones and other electronic devices. And while there’s nothing wrong with staying on top of the latest tech trend, there’s more to consider when it comes to our bodies.
Ever wonder whether or not you’re flexible? Well you’re in luck. We sat down with Will Torres, founder of Willspace, a personal training studio based in New York, to understand the hidden importance of stretching our bodies in the growing digital age.
“Sitting crouched over your computer or laptop is a very unnatural position for the body,” explains Torres, “and since we spend so much time in these positions, our muscles have re-calibrated themselves to become shorter and tighter, to the point where standing up with proper body alignment can feel unnatural. Stretching is important because it helps regain the natural length in your muscles.”
Bevel Code: If you’re an adult and can’t touch your toes, is that a problem?
Will Torres: Yes, it is a problem. A common issue with adults is lower back pain, and one of the biggest culprit are tight hips and hamstrings. So, if you can’t touch your toes, then basically you don’t have the required range of motion it takes to bend over, pick up things and place items on the floor. This forces you to compromise any movement, and eventually strain your back.
Bevel Code: So why is it important to stretch before and/or after a workout?
Will Torres: If you have an area that is very tight or a problem area, then you should spend time before you exercise stretching, or mobility exercises to prepare you for what you are about to do. You should also stretch after a workout, which is helpful because the muscles are already warmed up and fatigued, allowing them to get a better stretch.
Bevel Code: Is there fitness equipment someone could buy that would be useful for stretching?
Will Torres: There are two pieces of equipment I really like. One is a band, and the other is a mobility stick. The band will help take a normal stretch further or go deeper into the stretch with the band. The stick really helps by working on muscles that are stiff. It helps release tension in those knotted or tight muscles.
MOBILITY STICK CRADLE
Rogue Monster Bands
Bevel Code: Do you recommend yoga as a way to get in some good stretching?
Will Torres: Yoga is a great way to improve flexibility. It improves breathing and relaxation; however, you don’t need to be on a yoga mat to improve your flexibility. You don’t need to be on a yoga mat to be mindful. You can, however, create that same mindfulness throughout each day by paying attention to the way you are sitting at your desk, the way you sit when you drive, etc. When you lift weights, are you lifting too heavy and compensating? Or, are you breathing properly, staying relaxed and focusing on the movement? By having this type of mindfulness, you can improve your body every day.
Bevel Code: What’s an easy test a guy can do to see if he’s flexible?
Will Torres: I start with the assumption that most people have poor flexibility. Stand in front of the mirror and look at your shoulders; are they rounded? The best test is to stand how you normally would stand, sideways at a mirror. Your ears should be aligned over your shoulders, your shoulders over your hips, hips over the knees and knees over the ankles. There should be a straight line from the crown of your head all the way to the middle of your foot. If that doesn’t exist, then that will give you some insight to where you need to improve your flexibility and mobility. But for more ideas on where to start, check us out at our blog, willspace.com in our recovery section.