Stretching Routines: Gogi Tendon Organs ?

Stretching Routines: What Do Your Gogi Tendon Organs Have to do with it?

Stretching RoutinesStretching: What Do Your Gogi Tendon Organs Have To Do With It?  
Here’s a little video with the answer.
Have you tried to pick a coin up off the ground lately? How about tying your shoes? Have you switched to slip-ons? What about reaching over the coffee table to scoop some dip on the other side? Remember when you didn’t think twice about those maneuvers?
Sounds like decrepitude is setting in. Or maybe you’ve just lost some Flexibility.Flexibility is range of motion around your joints.
There are two types. Static flexibility – how far you can stretch and hold a body part, and dynamic flexibility – how much range of motion you have when you move.
Both are important. In fact I consider Flexibility one of the 3 main components of fitness, along with Aerobic Capacity and Muscle Strength.
I recommend a flexibility program that incorporates slow dynamic movements like Tai Chi, as well as static stretches like Yoga.But in my experience, Flexibility is the most ignored component of fitness. We do our Cardio and our Strength training but, unless we’re regular Yoga or Tai Chi, practitioners, Flexibility is not on the menu.
Why not? I think there are a couple of reasons. First, I think we don’t get it.It doesn’t make our muscles stronger or our figures shapelier. We don’t realize how valuable flexibility is until we try to do something we used to take for granted, like reach around to the back seat to get our sunglasses. Even then we toss it off with, “Well, I guess I’m getting older”. We somehow don’t connect with the thought, ” If I’d been doing a little stretching all these years, it wouldn’t have felt like I was going to rip something just then”.Secondly, there’s been lots of press about conflicting studies on the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of stretching.
Some studies say stretching improves athletic performance. Others say they’ve proved the exact opposite. Some studies say stretching helps prevent injury. Others say it has no effect on injury prevention. There’s enough conflicting buzz to make you not want to bother.That’s too bad because all that buzz masks the fact we do know stretching does help you gain and maintaining flexibility.
Does stretching help prevent injury or aid athletic performance? I DON’T CARE.
I want to stay flexible as I age. I want to be able to pick up coins, tie my shoes and grab my sunglasses. Give me my dose of flexibility training!Even if we were flexible as kids, as we get older, connective tissues, our tendons and ligaments, tend to lose water, shorten, and become stiffer. So we get less flexible. But it’s not too late.

Even if you’re not interested in the fine practice of Yoga or Tai Chi, barring some medical issue, there’s a simple way to help hang on to the flexibility you have, and work on getting some of that youthful flexibility back. A few easy stretching exercises may be the difference between living tight and living flexible.

I stretch every day. Easy for me to say, I teach a stretch class. But just a few minutes, three times a week, can make a real difference. I’ve seen students of mine go from really stiff to pretty darn flexible in a few months, without trying hard.

Stretching, when done right, feels delicious while you’re doing it, and even better when you’re done. The kind of stretching I do is relaxing and meditative. I find it melts my stress and energizes me while keeping me flexible. I’ve developed a stretch exercise technique I call Moving Free. It’s evolved some over the 30 years I’ve been teaching it. I use a fusion of modified static stretches from Dance, Yoga and classic fitness as well as dynamic movements adapted from Dance and Tai Chi and Kinesiology.

Here’s a video with some lower body stretches you can try at home.

As if that weren’t enough, There’s more to stretching than just flexibility. I think stretching is a form of meditation that creates a sense of well-being and promotes peace of mind. When I finish my stretching routine I have a more positive outlook as well as the feeling that my body is more alive, more accessible to me. Try it and see.

Chances are that pretty soon you’ll be able to find your shoes simply by looking down.

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Becoming Flexible

So what is flexibility? Flexibility is range of motion around your joints. There are two types of flexibility. Static flexibility – how far you can stretch and hold a body part and dynamic flexibility – how much range of motion you have when you move. Both are important to becoming flexible. You need a flexibility program that incorporates slow dynamic movements like Tai Chi, as well as static stretches like Yoga or Stretching routines.

Muscle fibers can become misaligned during normal movement. Our muscles produce chemical waste products when they work. These chemicals need to be eliminated so they don’t build up and cause aches and soreness. Also, as we age, are connective tissues; tendons and ligaments tend to shorten and become stiffer. That’s why we become shorter and less flexible as we grow older. These connective tissues require as much maintenance as our muscles do. Stretching helps maintain them.

Muscles can’t stretch themselves; they only know how to contract and relax.

In a perfect world that would be enough but the fact is relaxed muscles never completely relax because there are neurological receptors in our muscles and connective tissues that keep them poised for action like a race car at the starting line.

This is a good thing because it keeps us upright while standing and our heads from falling into our plates when we eat our dinner.

Becoming Flexible

Muscles are bundles of protein fibers sort of like bunches of elastic celery. They are attached to bones on both ends by a network of tough connective tissues called tendons. Tendons are neither bone nor muscle. Although tendons are somewhat elastic, they can only be stretched about 4%. Muscles on the other hand are capable of stretching over 50% of their normal length.

When we stretch a muscle and deliberately hold it for a few seconds, proprioceptors in the tendons, called gogi tendon organs, tell the muscle to relax, not contract and we are able to hold the stretch and even stretch out a little further.

Becoming Flexible

So try becoming flexible with a little Tai Chi –like movement to lubricate your joints and raise your core body temperature then do static stretches. Hold the stretch for a few seconds to allow those gogi tendon organs to kick in and then try to stretch and hold a bit further.

Becoming Flexible Can Help Reduce Stress

There’s more to stretching than just flexibility. Stretching is a form of meditation that creates a sense of well-being and promotes peace of mind. One finishes a routine with a more positive outlook as well as the feeling that your body is more alive, more accessible to you.

Stretching can slow down your aging clock and help you stay fabulous forever.

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