For a number of years I used to get a sore back when I stood up for too long. This usually used to come on when I was out “shopping” and did not want to be. Maybe this was psychosomatic, but that is when I used to notice it most and when it used to hurt the most. I also got it when I ran and when I did squats at BMF.
I committed to take some action over my back pain. I went to see an Osteopath. I explain my symptoms and my physical activity (running and cycling) and he proclaimed that there was no problem with my back. It was my hamstrings! Hamstrings (the big muscle running down the back of your leg) are attached to the muscles in your back, and my tight hamstrings were pulling on the muscles creating the discomfort. Although I stretched pre and post exercise, my homework was to stretch every day and come back next week and report back. For my second session, I explained that my achilles were now tight. He said, you have stretched your hamstrings and now the tightness had moved to your Achilles. I now had to stretch these and I also had to stretch my quadriceps, as it was the opposing muscle to my hamstrings.
I committed to stretch every day to try and help my back. When I first plonked myself on the floor to stretch my hamstrings my girlfriend said “Are you actually stretching, you look like you are just sitting” I was actually stretching, but this was day one and although I was not awful, I was not particularly supple. I continued to stretch for a number of weeks and made very good progress. My head got closer and closer to my knees, but more importantly the pain in my back cleared up. Success!
Well, that was then. I stretched every day and my back got better.
Guess what? Once my back was better and the gains had been made. I stopped!
Now it has been a couple of months since I stretched regularly and my back is hurting again.
I can try and give you plenty of reasons/excuses of why I stopped stretching. The point is that I did stop and explaining myself will not change that. I need to start again.
At Christmas, my girlfriend’s nieces and nephews bought me a book about stretching called The Book about Stretching. I had a good look through it when I got it and really liked it and found some new exercises and some good tips, but I did not get around to putting it in to action.
So, following my first 22 day challenge which involved drinking more water, my second is going to be stretching. I am going to read my Christmas present fully, make some notes, put together a program of exercises and I will stretch every day for 22 days (and then keep it up!).
I will let you know how it goes.
Do you have a regular stretching routine? What motivates you to stretch? Let me know by leaving a comment below.