- Don't consider stretching a warm-up. You may hurt yourself if you stretch cold muscles. So before stretching, warm up with light walking, jogging or biking at low intensity for five to 10 minutes. Or better yet, stretch after you exercise when your muscles are warmed up. Also, consider holding off on stretching before an intense activity, such as sprinting or track and field activities. Some research suggests that pre-event stretching before these types of events may actually decrease performance.
- Focus on major muscle groups. When you're stretching, focus on your calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders. Also stretch muscles and joints that you routinely use at work or play. And make sure that you stretch both sides. For instance, if you stretch your left hamstring, be sure to stretch your right hamstring, too.
- Don't bounce. Bouncing as you stretch can cause small tears in the muscle. These tears leave scar tissue as the muscle heals, which tightens the muscle even further, making you less flexible and more prone to pain. So, hold each stretch for about 30 seconds. Repeat each stretch three or four times.
- Don't aim for pain. Expect to feel tension while you're stretching, not pain. If it hurts, you've pushed too far. Back off to the point where you don't feel any pain, then hold the stretch.
- Make stretches sport specific. Some evidence suggests that it's helpful to do stretches tailored for your sport or activity. If you play soccer, for instance, you're more vulnerable to hamstring strains. So opt for stretches that help your hamstrings.
- Keep up with your stretching. Stretching can be time-consuming. But you can achieve the best benefits by stretching regularly, at least two to three times a week. If you don't stretch regularly, you risk losing any benefits that stretching offered. For instance, if stretching helped you increase your range of motion, and you stop stretching, your range of motion may decrease again.
- Bring movement into your stretching. Gentle movement can help you be more flexible in specific movements. The gentle movements of tai chi, for instance, may be a good way to stretch. And if you're going to perform a specific activity, such as a front kick in martial arts, do the move slowly and at low intensity at first to get your muscles used to it. Then speed up gradually as your muscles become accustomed to the motion.
For September 4th
For September 11th
Have you ever wanted to help a friend, but whatever you did only made matters worse? When a friend is unemployed, that is a prime opportunity for making bonds better or worse. Having just finished nine months of unemployment, which ended in our family moving to Utah, I want to pass on observations that will help keep friendships strong and may even help them get a job.
1. Don't preach trite solutions. Entitled ignorance comes through loud and clear to someone without a job, especially whenever one gives a suggestion like, "Have you tried getting a job in the church? They're always hiring." This little gem was given me when I was living happily, if a bit jobless, in Washington. I was an electrical engineer specializing in semiconductor verification.
2. Internet searches can be done by just about anyone who has an Internet connection. The fact that someone cared enough to go out of their way to search told me that there were folks out there who cared about me.
3. Take them to the unemployment office or LDS employment. The long trip to the unemployment office is easier with uplifting pep talks from friends.
4. Take them with you to work. Even if you're not a match at all, just seeing you in your place of employment can jog loose ideas and gets your friend out of the house
5. Help them fix something in their home. By helping, friends give the truest form of Christian service.
6. Find ways your friend can help you. Knowing that I mattered to them — that I was needed — made all the difference in my attitude. If you have a friend, let them know that they are needed by inconveniencing them a little once in a while — ask them to help you. Not out of a "Hey! You've got nothing better to do!" but with the attitude "I value you and want your expertise."
7. Look over their resume; take a couple of copies. Even if you don't know to whom to give the thing, you may be prompted, being in the right place at the right time. Make up a lame excuse if you must, but get a copy. Pass it along to your hiring manager. Share it with relatives.
8. Invite them into your house. Play games. Take pictures. Celebrate. Send them home with leftovers. Repeat. When you're unemployed, your ability to entertain dwindles. It's amazing how dependent we all are on this basic thing called money. Share your means by doing more than giving to the local food bank. Open your house, and be generous with all that you've been blessed.
For September 18th
September Viva Vegetable PDF - This is the September newsletter, even though it says August. You can find August here.