Perhaps nothing shows the signs of aging like stiff muscles and joints. In fact, scientists and medical doctors use flexibility tests to determine your “real age”. A flexible and toned 40 year old could be younger in “real age” than a biological 25 year old couch potato.
Why a stiff body makes you older
Think of your body as a circuitry with the blood vessels being the wires and electrical cords that carry nutrients to your cells and flush out the waste. In addition, there are hundreds of energetic channels within the body that transmit electro-magnetic currents, performing a similar function of carrying fresh energy to your cells and burning off the toxins. When you neglect to stretch, your body collapses, restricting blood circulation and shrinking the energy channels.
When your body’s circuitry is collapsed, the energy does not flow, you feel tired and depleted. When you do not stretch on a daily basis, your body’s circuitry becomes atrophied.
When the body is collapsed and the energy does not flow, our metabolism slows down to a crawl; the body starts losing muscle tone and accumulating fat cells. The body uses fat cells to store toxins to protect its organs. Interestingly, this downfall of the physical body is often accompanied by a loss of optimism, increased grudges and negative mental attitudes. Our body and mind are tightly connected. As we heal the body, the mind receives healing, and when we heal the mind, the body tends to turn for the better as well. This is why the Women’s Perfect Body program focuses on both – the body and mind.
Deep slow breathing, drinking plenty of fresh water, and stretching are the First Aid actions to begin reversal of the aging process! As you add healthy nutrition and exercise to the mix, you are on the sure path to your healthiest and most attractive body and mind.
Why good posture is sexy
A survey of 2,500 people found that the overwhelming majority (83%) of both men and women (ages 25 to 78) listed “erect and open posture” as the sexiest physical attribute.
In this study, most men and women also listed preference for a taller mate. If you think that you cannot change your height, think again! Stand in front of a mirror as you would normally stand in casual situations and take note of your height. Then close your eyes, take a deep breath and relax. Open your posture by pulling yourself up at the sternum, straighten up your spine and imagine that the spaces between your vertebrae also stretch and open. Then pull your head up as if trying to reach the ceiling with the crown of your head (Do not tilt your head backwards but keep it vertical.) Open your eyes and look at yourself in the mirror again. You have probably just added several inches to your height!
Also, good posture creates an illusion that you are a few pounds thinner and that your body is more toned than it actually is. This is because a person weighing 155 lbs at 5’7″ is thinner than a person weighing 155 lbs at 5’4″. If you only pull yourself up at the times when you look in the mirror or when seeing an attractive stranger approaching, your body will eventually succumb to gravity. However, if you develop a habit of pulling yourself up and maintaining an open, tall posture, you will not need to worry about loosing your height with age! You may even gain a couple of inches because the spaces between the vertebrae can be stretched and opened.
If you suffer from back pain: As your posture improves, your backaches will lessen because you open and expand the spaces between the vertebrae. Your continuous effort to pull yourself up strengthens your back muscles and lifts your weight off your hips. Note: it may take a couple of months of daily stretching before your muscles will begin to maintain elongation.
Another huge benefit of keeping your back straight and maintaining an open posture is that as you do so, your body’s circuitry opens up and you have much more energy!
So, why a good posture is so attractive to both sexes?
You have probably heard that our body language speaks louder than words. The qualities that people find universally attractive in others are: confidence, positive attitude and success – all communicated by an erect open posture; while contriving, shadiness and deceit are associated with slouching, collapsed and an indrawn body.
Stand in front of the mirror again, and slouch. While your spine is collapsed, observe your thoughts and mood for a couple of minutes. How do you feel about your body? Do you feel attractive? How do you feel about your life? What about your ability to succeed? Then pull yourself up, take a deep breath and open your shoulders. Stand up as tall as you can for a couple of minutes. Notice how your mood shifts to more confident and optimistic.
We have done experiments with people who reported feeling down and hopeless. We asked them to NOT try to change their attitude at all, but simply open their posture and keep their head up for a few days, no matter how they felt. They have reported that their feeling of hopelessness lifted in a few days without any effort on their part, except maintaining a good posture! It appears that collapsing our posture is one way we sabotage ourselves.
Imagination goes a long way! Engage your mind. Imagine that you are flexible and stretching perfectly. If you do this while stretching, you are likely to stretch much further than if you would use your body’s current ability alone. Regardless of how flexible you are, your imagination will increase and continue enhancing your ability! This applies to everything in life! The larger you dare to dream, the more you will achieve.
Remember to stretch ALL parts of your body, not just those that come easily. Wherever there is stiffness in your body, the blood and energy do not flow freely. The lack of blood circulation in the blocked areas prevents a healthy cleansing process and causes buildup of toxic waste!
As you stretch, learn to become aware of all of the parts of your body. Be kind to your body! (The Women’s Perfect Body Affirmations will help you to enforce positive, healing thoughts about yourself. Make sure to Subscribe on the right side of the page to download your FREE copy.)
In addition to stretching every inch of your body on a regular basis, a weekly massage all over your body is also very healthy. It helps to increase blood circulation and clear the energy. You can use scrubs and sponges to exfoliate and massage your entire body while in the shower or taking a bath. If you have a partner, massage could be a fun way to exchange favors.
The 7 Golden Rules of Stretching:
1. Do all stretching slowly and gently.
2. Never bounce while stretching. Ease into each stretching pose in a smooth, continued motion.
3. Breathe deeply.
4. Do not force the stretch, but rather let your body naturally sink deeper into the stretch as you exhale. Use the body’s gravity.
5. Relax into each stretching pose. You can close your eyes while stretching for added relaxation.
6. Maintain each stretching pose for at least 20 seconds.
7. Good form is more important than how deeply you stretch.
Important: It is imperative to come out of the stretching pose as slowly as you get into it! Listen to your body.
Stretching is a great opportunity to center your mind. To increase relaxation and focus, close your eyes while resting in the stretching pose and remember to breathe deeply and slowly.
In summary, a few of the many great benefits of stretching:
- Reverses the aging process
- Increases blood circulation
- Increases energy
- Gives a more slender appearance
- Tones the muscles
- Improves posture
- Relieves aches and pains (due to aging, misalignment or recovering after intense workouts)
- Reduces the risk of injuries
- Reduces stress
Your body has the ability to quickly adapt to a routine and find ways to escape into a comfort zone. As a result, your muscles stop developing. By varying your stretching and workout routines every week or two, you “surprise” the body and ensure that the muscles continue being engaged.
The last thought: Good form is the most important. The skill that is built on good form will continue to develop, while the skill built on poor form will lead to a dead end.
Affirmation for the day:
“I enjoy stretching. As I relax and breathe into my stretch, my body opens up and allows the flow of energy and light through it’s every pore. Stretching energizes me and calms my mind. I love my body.”
PS: To get your FREE eBook with over 100 powerful affirmations and make sure that you don’t miss any of the insights and excites on creating your perfect body, subscribe to my Email Newsletter on the right side of this page.
Ask questions or share your thoughts on stretching with us in the Comments section below.
About Author: Mila Diamond is an author, speaker and international success mentor. She believes that an outstanding life begins with optimal health and the correct mindset. Mila helps women to step into their feminine power, create success, feel refreshed and unstoppable! Mila’s coaching connects the physical with a positive mental perspective and spiritual, soulful journey. With her articles on this site, Mila looks to inspire, empower and unite women from all over the world – sister to sister, heart to heart.