For those periods of time when we are swamped with life, there are ways to incorporate movements that will nourish our body, our mind, and curtail stiffness. Choose one tip to begin with and make it a daily practice. Once that’s manageable, add-on to the routine.
1. Morning Move and Stretch
Let me begin from the time we get out of bed. The way we sleep (e.g. stomach sleeper-neck issues, side sleeper-shoulders/hip issues) could be perpetuating any chronic tightness we are experiencing. As part of a healthy routine, start practicing what I like to call a, “Move and Stretch”. The focus is to wake up the body after a period of inactivity by moving the joints through a full range of motion then holding in a static stretch position. This feels great after the body has been at rest for many hours (hopefully most of us have gotten at least 7 hours rest).
2. Challenge Your Balance
Stand on one leg while brushing your teeth. This will challenge your vestibular system. In brief, it’s a sensory system that’s also involved with motor functions. It communicates with the brain about head, eye and body positioning during movement. It’s responsible for helping us keep our balance and sense of spatial awareness.
3. Lift While You Wait
While waiting in line (for the bus, elevator, to cross the street, etc.) perform heel raises. I would not recommend this if you are wearing high heels since those calves are already getting a workout. Instead, keep an SMR (self-myofascial release ball – or a tennis ball) at your desk and roll under the sole of your foot.
4. Stair Climb With Purpose
Make a conscious effort to take the stairs when possible. Place the entire foot on the step (some people use only their forefoot to climb up), propel your body weight up using the heel and fore-foot. Your buns should be far out behind you, core contracted and your knees just above your toes. Bring your mind to your muscles and think how wonderful it is to be able to propel your own weight through a flight of stairs using our powerful leg muscles.
5. Hip Stretch and Strengthen
This stretch is essential for those of us that must remain seated for a long period of time (desk jobs, writers, etc.). It’s easily done while seated in a chair or while lying face up on the floor. To strengthen, add an isometric squat against a wall or hoover over your chair, get creative! With this exercise, you are strengthening your quadriceps, glutes, core while exercising your range of motion through your hips, knees, and ankle joints. Take notice of the symmetry between your left and right sides. Any big differences in strength, mobility, or flexibility should be addressed with a customized training program. Check out the photos below! Feel free to comment or contact me to get a personalized training program started!
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