Stretching: The Most Needed and Under Utilized Component of Physical Fitness

What’s the first thing a cat does after she wakes up from one of her many naps? Right, she stretches her body. You should take lessons from her because she is still flexible and supple even though she is aging.

Keep your ankles flexible and strong and your balance improves. Keep your pelvis flexible and strong and your back pain will lessen. Flexibility plays a serious role in staying active as you age. By staying more flexible you will appear younger and you will be able to do more of the same things you did when you were younger.

The old adage about if you don’t use it you’ll lose it is very important when it comes to aging. As you age, you naturally get stiffer for many reasons; disuse is the main one, arthritis is another common complaint, and tight muscles due to inactivity. There is a decline in flexibility as you age, particularly if you are inactive, due to connective tissue changes in the muscles, ligaments, joint capsules, and tendons.

Because you walk less, you get stiffer, and being stiff causes you to move less. It’s a vicious circle. You should incorporate full body stretches into your daily routine. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you will become more flexible and supple.

Flexibility is one of the five components of being physically fit. Muscular strength and endurance (muscular fitness), cardiorespiratory fitness, flexibility and appropriate body composition (fat to lean ratio) are all components of being fit. De-stressing is another factor that is sometimes added.

Flexibility work will help you maintain joint range of motion. Make sure you do wrist and ankle circles to help with mobility.

If you are still driving, it’s very important to keep your neck moveable. If you can’t look over your shoulder to see where you are going when you are backing up–you are in big trouble.

Aging is associated with changes in the elasticity of the connective tissue and these changes result in a significant decrease in flexibility and range of motion. Although declines in flexibility and active range of motion are noted in most seniors, there is definite evidence that suggests that the decline in theses areas are due mainly from disuse, and that not all older individuals lose flexibility at the same rate.

Stretching exercises that emphasize range of motion and flexibility have been shown to increase ankle, knee and lower back flexibility.

Examples of flexibility exercises for ankles would be ankle circles along with pointing the toes away from the body and then pointing them up toward the ceiling. While most people prefer doing these exercises while sitting–I dare you to do them while standing and challenge your balance as well. If these exercises are not practiced, you’ll lose the ability to pick up your feet when you walk and you will tend to trip over them causing stumbling and ultimately falling.

To keep your knees flexible and strong, try sitting in a chair and then stand up. Do this at least ten times and then rest. Do another set if you are able. This exercise not only strengthens the knees and keeps them flexible but it also strengthens the quadriceps (front of the thigh). By keeping the quadriceps strong, you will be able to take care of yourself and remain independent.

Using an exercise ball is the best way to keep your pelvis flexible and strong. Just sitting on the ball is a challenge for most folks and doing just that is very good for you. As you become more comfortable on the ball, start moving your hips in a circle trying not to move your knees. Pretend you are in a box and make sure the ball touches each wall of the box. Be sure to change the direction of the circles and do equal amounts each direction. You’ll probably favor one direction over the other–that’s normal. By keeping your pelvis flexible and strong you will lessen the chances for back pain.

Domestic animals have the luxury of stretching after they nap because they know that they are going to be fed and be taken care of. However, I was watching a juvenile moose this morning and when she got up she went right to eating. I think survival is the first thing that comes to mind in wild animals. Since you are domesticated–you should take the time to stretch and relax. Yoga and Tai Chi are just a couple of class suggestions that will help with flexibility, balance, and strength.

A good rule of thumb is to stretch the muscles that you work. When you stretch after working out you will alleviate the possibility of blood pooling in your extremities so that you avoid muscle cramping later in the day.

Nothing improves your mood more than exercise. Your body longs for movement and when you give it what it wants it will reward you for years and years!

Writing a Good Fitness Sales Letter

Writing a good fitness sales letter will be a necessity at some point in your personal training career. It shouldn’t be anything to fret over, because it’s pretty much a fact of life. This is especially so when it comes to increasing name recognition in a prospective client base.

Keep in mind, though, that any fitness sales letter shares many similarities to most sales letters in any other business. For starters, the letter is about promoting the services which you feel will be valuable to a customer. You’re a personal trainer after all, and your services are going to be delivered personally to others. You won’t be an unknown super-conglomerate to any of your new customers, will you?

The first thing to emphasize when writing a good fitness sales letter is to focus on the potential customer. Leave out, for the most part, how great you personally are. Veteran marketing writers call this the “90/10 rule.” The sales letter talks about the customer 90 percent of the time and you — at most — 10 percent of it.

Make sure the letter addresses your possible clientele’s own fitness issues and how you can help these people address them. The time to talk about yourself is after you’ve begun training them. Up until then, keep the letter focused on them. After all, they don’t really know or actually care about you, for the most part. They will care deeply about themselves, though, so turn that to your benefit.

This next one can’t be reiterated enough: Always make sure to offer your potential clients something valuable. What might this be? Well, the list can be long. Perhaps a secret fitness program that only you have access to. Pro marketers believe a report of from four to eight pages is usually sufficiently valuable. And if you don’t know how to write, find somebody who does. It’s relatively inexpensive to commission a letter like this, nowadays.

Keep in mind that the best sales letters all leave out a distracting letterhead format at the top of the letter. It’s a curious fact that many people prefer to have a fancy-looking header at the top, but this just serves to take the reader’s attention away from the more important sales headline. There are times when a letterhead is called for, but this isn’t one of them, to be honest.

Any sales letter has a single goal in mind: To generate a response from the reader. Confusing the reader with a potentially-distracting bunch of non-applicable writing at the top will weaken, not strengthen the sales pitch. If you want it in the letter, site it down near your signature line, after you’ve made the pitch. Try not to use it at all, though.

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