Getting athletes to stretch is harder then stretching itself. However, it should be clear that stretching is an integral part of long term heath and fitness. Effort to train will be balanced by ease of stretching. Therefore, stretching is a way to increase your chance to play/train for years to come.
How can a hard core, full throttle triathlete use stretching principals to achieve their chosen goal? To simplify the task, let’s expand the definition of stretching to include: awareness of position and alignment to achieve a purpose: something like mind, body and goal. Now, when you are walking, standing, at work, at home, on a computer, on a phone, in a car or on a couch use the same positions you use in training. This will benefit your mechanics and mental focus in all three disciplines no effort. When you improved your mechanics you improve your performance.
Use these tips often.
When sitting lift your upper chest and extend as if you are swimming.
When sitting, pivot at the hips and lean forward with your chest as if you are on your bike.
When walking or standing shift the chest forward as if you are running and elongate the front of the hips and abs as if you are swimming.
When standing find extension in the lower back, us this same feeling and decrease compression when running.
Another opportunity to improve your fitness is to add quality to your respiration. Breathing should feel easy and calm. This type of abdominal- diaphragmatic ventilation, as detailed below, will decrease heart rate, cardiac output, metabolic rate, cardio-pulmonary stress, blood sugar, lactate level, and fatigue. It will increase blood and cerebral spinal fluid to the brain, lymphatic flow, digestion of dead blood cells, muscle relaxation, and counter the physical and hormonal stress of training. Finally, as your daily breathing volume increases you will decrease time of recovery. Try this exercise and find the range of your breathing movement.
The idea is to gently expand the ribs and chest when you inhale, a back bend similar to swimming and running.
At the end of the exhale move the abs back so that there is a feeling as if you are starting a sit up. This is the reason sit ups are done on an exhale.
If you have one minute it can help to count the length of your inhale and exhale as a way to isolate the intricate movements of the breath.
This passive breathing should allow for maximum expansion in the ribs and complete deflation at the abdominal area.
At work and home combine biomechanics and the breath. The tendency when sitting is to slouch and compress the disk of the lower back. With standing and walking we tend to stick the stomach forward and the chest back, impeding respiratory effort and digestion. Mom was right sit up straight, stand upright and race and train forever.