Resolutions - Don't neglect the stretch!
Resolutions. Most people enter the new year with them. And, according to inc.com, a whopping 65% of us entered this new year with the resolution to exercise more. Personally, I think resolutions should be tossed like a bad habit and instead we should all just focus on being the best we can be one day at a time, but, regardless, having a resolution to exercise more is definitely commendable, because most of us wind up getting too wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of every day life that we tend to neglect ourselves. So, exercising more is great, and I support and applaud each and every one of you who have chosen this as a 2019 resolution.
That being said (and here the mom voice kicks in) please ease your way into your new exercise regiment, do NOT push through pain (Hello?! that's your body telling you to STOP!), and DON'T skip stretching post workout in order to avoid injury, which you know will only set you back and put the wrench in your 2019 resolution! And, on the topic of stretching, if you're one of those people who has the excuse for not stretching because you just don't have time, or whatever!, stop making excuses and just do it! Even if you have to bail early on that gym class, skipping the cool down, I bet you have time at some point later on in the day to stretch whether it be at your desk at work, while cooking in the kitchen (I kid you not), or even while watching the newest episode of Game of Thrones (which is still months away! grrrrr). Wondering how? Here's what I do:
Seated stretches are great for while you're sitting at your desk at work. Ones I gravitated towards when I worked in corporate America (fun fact - Yoga April was formerly IT Auditor April LOL) were the seated twist (for my spine and posture), cat/cow (for my lower back - a simple arching and rounding of the spine), and a nice outer thigh stretch (feet flat on the floor, lift one foot up place that ankle on the opposite knee and lean forward).
Standing stretches are great for while your stationary for a moment, perhaps while stirring dinner while it's on the stove. Ones you might catch me doing while in the kitchen in all honesty is a good quad stretch (balancing on one foot, grab the opposite ankle with the hand and draw that heel towards your bum while keeping the knee pointing down). Another I like to do in the kitchen is a simple side bend on both sides (feet together, arms up overhead, lean to one side then the other).
Stretching on the floor while on your back or stomach are ideal for when the kids have gone to bed and perhaps the floor is clear enough of their toys that you can get on down there and watch a dreamy Jon Snow (or Lagertha!) while doing a yummy shoulder stretch. (Yes, I just said yummy and shoulder stretch at the same time.) One I like to do is the shoulder opener (lying on your stomach reach one arm out to the side, palm down, draw the opposite hand under the shoulder and, pressing that hand into the floor, try to roll over onto the shoulder with the outstretched arm). LOVE that stretch. Another great one for the floor is reclining big toe, targeting the muscles in the back of the leg (flat on your back lift one leg up grabbing the big toe with your two index fingers and work towards straightening that leg as well as drawing in it closer to your torso), or even just a simple twist (hug the knees into your chest then lower them (together) to one side, repeating on the other side).
Those are just some examples, of course, as there are a ton of additional stretches you can do to target certain muscle groups, depending on what your body needs. Need more examples on a specific area/position (seated/lying down/etc.) or more of a detailed explanation on how to get into and come out of a certain stretch??? Drop me a line!!! Seriously, I'm happy to help you however I can! But don't do yourself a disservice by neglecting the stretch. Sometimes even post workout, the day after, can be a brutal one. STRETCH IT OUT! I promise you that you'll feel SOOOOOO much better if you do! Listen to your body, it's always telling you something, and respond as it needs, it'll thank you!
Wishing all of you much success with your 2019 resolutions, or with just the exercise of being the best version of you with every passing day, and a Happy New Year!
Much love & Namaste,