Reach for the stars. There goes Jupiter, here comes Mars! LOL. Anybody old enough to remember that little diddly from the Romper Room series way back when even I was a kid! Well, it seems our Romper Room teacher had the right idea, turns out that stretching is not only good for the kids, it's good for us grownups, too. I remember my father used to always do morning stretch exercises before begining his days. What about you? How often do you get into the stretching act? It has a long list of benefits for your body.
How much do you know about the structures in your body that, working together, help your body's range of motion?
Your body's range of motion, that is, how far you can move a joint in various directions is determined by many things. That's starting with the inner workings of your joints and the structures surrounding them. On that subject, how much do you know about the structures in your body that, working together, can help or, if you're not taking good care of them, can hinder your body's range of motion. Here's a little primer on those body parts.
JOINTS. They're the junctions that link your body's bones together. The architecture of each joint, meaning whether its a hinge, pivot or ball-in-socket, determines how well your bones move.
MUSCLES. They surround your joints and provide the energy needed to move them. The amount of tension in the muscles surrounding a joint is key to how much range of motion a particular joint can achieve.
TENDONS are flexible cords of strong tissue that connect muscles to bone and make your body's movement possible. When a joint moves, energy from your muscles is transferred into the tendons, which tugs on the bones and gets you moving.
LIGAMENTS are tough, fibrous bands that bind bone-to-bone, or bone-to-cartilage at a joint. One example is the anterior cruciate ligament. Boy, that's a mouthful so let's just call it ACL for short. It's one of five ligaments that working together control the movements of the knee. (Believe me, I know all about that one.) Among its other duties, the ACL keeps the knee joint from rotating too far and potentially causing damge.
When you STRETCH, you're working your muscles and tendons.
When you S-T-R-R-R-E-T-C-H, you're working your body's muscles and tendons rather than ligaments. Ligaments are not supposed to be elastic. An overly stretchy ligament wouldn't provide the stability and sipport needed for a safe range of movement.
So give your joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments all a big helping hand. Before starting your daily exercise routine, loosen things up a bit and make your Romper Room teacher proud. Bend and stretch...reach for the stars!