Should Have Stretched

The quick answer:  For good health you must use your muscles.  Exercise includes aerobic (hard breathing), resistance (weights), and stretching.  You need all forms for best health—this week we address stretching.



Modern life, we’ve sadly learned, is carcinogenic.  You can greatly reduce your risk of cancer—and other chronic diseases—by following the Word of Wisdom.  That’s why this blog is important.  The #1 cancer for men (excluding skin cancer) is prostate cancer (PC).  For women its breast cancer, discussed here

There are three things men can do to reduce their PC risk besides eating a healthy diet:

  1. Avoid tobacco smoke—it isn’t just about lung cancer.  Tobacco exposure is measured in “pack-years.”  Each year smoking one pack daily increases mortality by about 2%.  
  2. Settle down with a good woman.  They don’t know why, but the more women in your life, and the sooner you start, the higher your risk of PC. 
  3. Enjoy sunshine.  PC can be aggressive or contained.  Most forms are contained and you’ll die of something else.  The aggressive forms, about 1 in 6, are the problem—the best protection seems to be a healthy serum level of vitamin D.  A recent study found that men in the lowest quintile of serum vitamin D had 266% more risk of an aggressive form.  Don’t know why, but your vitamin D is more protective of the worst PC than any other known factor.  For more about safe sunshine, go here.  For more about the study, go here.

Convenience and Exercise

Good health requires sweat, meaning active use of your muscles.  Yet a big trend in society over the last century has been laborsaving devices.  So we have to reconsider all our convenience gadgets. 

Do you have a garage door opener in your car?  Not us.  We jump in and out of the car to go push the button inside the garage.  The Beautiful Wife is patient with this odd behavior but I fear the neighbors are starting to wonder. 

This is the new question:  How inconvenient should you make your life?  Everything can be made harder.  Last Fathers Day, a daughter gave me a hand lawn mower.  Used it this morning.

This week the subject is stretching but I’m not doing it.   I stopped my stretching exercises while a sore knee recovered and never resumed.  This week was a good time to start but I strained my back making a sudden move one morning.  Probably wouldn’t have happened if I had been stretching.

Flexibility and Aging

Have you observed how you become increasingly less flexible as you age?  Maintaining flexibility—through stretching—is one way to slow down the aging clock.  One study, reported in this N. Y. Times article, revealed a connection between the suppleness of your body and the flexibility of your arteries, including the coronary arteries critical to heart health.  Flexibility, like the touching of toes, is a marker for artery health. 

Here’s are common stretching benefits:

  1. Increases flexibility
  2. Improves circulation
  3. Improves balance and coordination
  4. Reduces lower back pain risk
  5. Can improve heart health
  6. Reduces the tension of stress
  7. Improves energy

Please comment: Share your experience with stretching exercise.  How often do you do it, what do you do, and what's the benefit.

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Reader Comments (3)

Power yoga Friday mornings. Stretch and sweat!

May 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJessica brown

Yoga for sure! I love the app "Yoga Studio." Use it all the time.

May 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEliza

I do ballet followed by yoga class on the weekends. Ballet classes are structured so well - you combine strengthening with cardio, stretching, balance, and mental exercise to boot, and come out with a very balanced feeling. It is, of course, important to supplement class with more stretching to stay in top condition, which is why I head directly to the yoga studio after ballet.

May 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMariel

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