On stretching before exercise...
Some debate the benefits of stretching, and whether to stretch before or after (or both) an activity. Here's my recent experience on the subject:
I'm still restricted from riding (due to shoulder) and also from gardening, but to save my sanity I decided to do some much-needed gardening in the warm sun yesterday. After my morning cereal and coffee, I went straight out and started cutting.
Within a few minutes, I felt that old familiar sharp pain in my lower back, just below my waist. "Oh NO..." I thought.... "...I'm just getting started!".
So, I went inside and did less than 10 minutes total of the following:
-- rolling side to side on a styrofoam roll, about 2 minutes
-- The Bridge (3 reps)
-- Cobra Pose (6 reps, held for 6 secs each)
Then, I returned to the garden and did 6 more hours of work without a single twinge in my back. Oh sure, I was stiff and tired when I finished, but the back pain was gone when I finished the exercises, and never returned.
Now, to really appreciate this you have to know that for years I've suffered back spasms after hours of bending in the garden, crafting, whatever. So, to be able work hours in the garden without nary a twinge --- after just a few minutes of stretching --- is monumental.
This is only the second time I have tried this "experiment"-- stretching before gardening -- and I have to say it works like a miracle both times.
BTW, my shoulder (upper arm) was sore last night, but is just fine this morning. Still no improvement in ROM or the pain when I lift and use it, but it's not any worse today. Mentally, I feel terrific after a day in the sun in the garden.