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LOOKING UP

March 11, 2011Read: 1 Peter 3

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." --1 Peter 3:15

Last night Prayfit VP Eric Velazquez called me to share his excitement of seeing the International Space Station (ISS) flying across the horizon. Before I could say anything, he rattled off the staggering facts that the ISS is about the size of a football field and orbits the earth at over 17,000 mph. (These facts, he repeated over and over.)

When he finally took a breath, he said something that caught my attention. He explained that as he was looking up, a curious neighbor approached him and inquired. Standing there assured, Eric explained what he was anxiously awaiting, so the neighbor stayed. After a few quiet, awkward minutes, sure enough, the ISS appeared, torching the sky for almost four jaw-dropping minutes. For the neighbor, worth the wait. For Eric, worth the risk.

Pretty awesome. Eric did exactly what you and I should be doing. Not only was he looking in the right direction, he convinced others to join him. Though the sky was clear and without proof, Eric knew what he was waiting for and he didn't want anyone to miss it.

Neither should we.

--J.P.

Application: 1. Are you and I looking up enough for others to be curious? 2. It can be awkward at times, but what are some ways to witness to strangers? 3. Can our fitness be a witness? How?

STRETCH QUIZ ANSWERS

Thank you everyone for participating in our quiz on stretching yesterday.

Stretching is a delicate issue, literally and figuratively, and should only be done at certain times, under specific circumstances and for the right reasons. So as to which one of the reasons listed was not true...

1. Stretching doesn't necessarily prevent injury.

True: Research confirms that just as many people injure themselves who stretch as those who don't.

2. Stretching actually makes you weaker before a workout.

True: Stretching target muscles prior to a workout relaxes the natural tension within the muscle, preventing it from being as powerful as it could be had it not been pre-stretched.

3. Stretching is for range of motion purposes only.

True: This one is tricky. While there may be benefits of stretching like reduced soreness following rigorous activity, the research-based, ultimate purpose of stretching (functional or for performance) is for range of motion. It makes no sense nor does it provide any benefit to stretch even a sufficiently warm muscle if the ROM is achievable without it. You may see people stretching prior to a jog on the treadmill, but that is not only needless, it could induce unwanted damage. Most people have the range of motion necessary to jog.

4. Stretching a cold muscle could actually cause injury.

True: Think of your muscles like a sponge. The more fluid a sponge has, the easier it is to move. Twist a dry sponge and what happens? Same goes for your muscles.

5. Stretching is best done after a workout, when your muscles are warm and full of fluid.

True: After a workout, the target muscles are full of fluid (water, blood, nutrients, byproducts). It's that fluid that allows for safe and effective stretching for reasons previously mentioned.

So what should you do pre-workout? Get warm. Take a few minutes to do a general warm-up, such as a brisk walk on the treadmill, and follow that with some dynamic exercise such as walking knee hugs, jumping jacks, butt kickers and shadowboxing. If you're weight training, do a few light sets of your first exercise as a specific warm-up before going heavier. General, dynamic, specific. It sounds like a lot, but it will only add minutes to your workout and it can boost performance while decreasing risk of injury.

So...the winners are: Alyssa, Phil, Peggy, Bill and Maria. To Alyssa, Phil, Peggy and Bill, we'd be honored if you let us send you a complementary Prayfit bracelet. For Maria, you were first, so we hope you enjoy your brand new Prayfit Baseball Cap! E-mail your mailing address to jimmy@prayfit.com.