Each Friday, we’ll focusing on a new flexibility goal to add to our daily stretching/yoga flow: welcome to Flexible Fridays!
Remember doing the splits? Back in the day, I’d stretch those legs good to pop the spilts in a gymnastics meet, then drop from someone’s shoulders into full leg splits on the gym floor for a cheerleading gig. There’s absolutely no good reason for me to need to do the splits in my fifties. However, there’s every reason in the world to keep those muscles flexible. There’s almost no pain equal to a pulled groin, so it behooves us all to keep some “splits” flexibility well past high school graduation. And so, I’d like to see if I can, over time, regain my ability to do the splits…center, left, and right. This may take some work…
At 53, I’m a good eighteen inches from hitting my goal all three ways. I hover well above the ground, legs screaming as I sink closer to the floor. However, I am a woman of great persistence, a good thing as doing the splits at all is gonna take a bit of doing. Way more doing with fifty-something legs than the same trick required twenty years ago. However, as we lose our natural flexibility, it becomes even more important to work on retaining it as much as possible. And avoiding muscle injury (including groin pulls) at 53 is way more of a concern than it ever was in my supple, flexible teens.
Doing the splits stretches the quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip flexors, three sets of muscles that tend to tighten up as we age. Not that one needs to be able to do the splits to live a full and happy life, not at all. But we do need flexibility in our legs for taking longer strides, and not injuring ourselves if the legs slip on a wet sidewalk or icy trail. As we get older, any injury can be potentially devastating, and a pulled hamstring can put one right out of commission, and require longer recovery times. A good flexibility routine can help avoid injury.
The sort of flexibility one works toward when working toward the splits can help us maintain mobility, which, unlike performing the splits in a pompon routine, is actually still very relevant. So, the sorts of stretches done to get into the splits can be invaluable additions to any healthy fitness plan.
Here’s a link to a stretching routine I like for working toward the splits. It’s a video put on by PsycheTruth.net, a site which focuses on nutrition, fitness, massage, nutrition, psychology and alternative medicine. This twelve-minute video works the entire upper leg, and shows the stretches being performed at a basic and advanced level. This is the stretching routine I did today for our first “Flexibility Friday!”
- I’d like to do the splits(bigwallskip.wordpress.com)
- How to improve your dancing flexibility!(centerstageonpointe.wordpress.com)
- Jean-Claude Van Damme’s epic split stunt goes viral(usatoday.com)