Give Me Ten
Happy Friday Everyone! I hope you have had a fabulous week and are getting all prepared for a just as fabulous weekend. 🙂
I’ve discussed before the importance of stretching as not only a way to become more flexible but also as a tool for injury prevention. A very important tool. And it’s not one of those things that you can just do for a few minutes after every workout and really see any results. To become more flexible you really do need to put in some time and effort, trust me, I’ve learned the hard way. I’m one of those people that finishes a workout and all I want to do is jump in the shower; but I’ve learned over and over again that I need to take the time to really stretch out my body so as to prevent injury and actually be able to go and workout instead of being sidelined with a pulled muscle or the like. Bonus- it’ll help you perform better too!
The way that I like to work flexibility training into my routine is 3 ways. 1st, I’ll do about 5 minutes of stretching after my workout. 2nd, I have a workout day dedicated to it (ie my yoga day). And 3rd, I spend 10 minutes every day performing a few simple stretches (usually before bed or during my lunch hour) to help me keep all my major muscles groups nice and limber. I would now like to share with you my 10 minute routine in the hopes that you too can stave off injury and increase your flexibility. It’s not so bad, I promise. All of these exercises can be done on the floor (while you’re watching tv perhaps?), or even in bed if you would like. They are very simple and feel ooohhhh so good. 🙂 Hold each pose for 1 full minute. It will really give your body a chance to relax into the pose and deepen the stretch.
The first pose is Cobbler’s. You’ll want to bring your feet together in front of you and sit up very straight. Then, leaning through your hips and NOT rounding your back, lean forward over your feet. You can let gravity do all the work or if you are more flexible you can pull gently with your arms. If you are less flexible, sitting on a folded blanket or yoga mat will help ease some tension in your hips.
The next pose is a side toe touch. Start with one leg straight and one leg bent. Reach your arms all the way up with a straight back, and lean over your straight leg through your hips. Again, don’t round your back. You should feel a stretch in your rib cage. Reach as far as you can. Feel free to hold onto your knee or shin if you can’t reach your toes. If you can reach your toes, pull back slightly on them to stretch your calf and hamstring. Even if you can’t reach your toes, flex your foot to increase the stretch. Stretch each side for a full minute.
The next pose is probably my favorite stretch ever, hands down. It is a very intense stretch, but after you stay in it for a while, it feels soooooo good. For pidgeon pose you’ll want to start by bending one knee and laying it in front of you at roughly a 45% angle. Your other leg should shoot behind you. This will stretch your hip and the side of your leg. As I said, it’s a very intense pose. Start with your upper body sitting up, with your hands on the ground and as you relax into the pose, you can fold over your bent leg. If you are very flexible, you can release your arms and drape your chest over your leg. I’ll get there some day. 🙂 Hold 1 minute each side.
The next pose is a simple quad stretch. It’s the same motion you would do if you were standing. Holding one foot, stretch each quad for a full minute. The greater you pull your foot to your butt, the greater the stretch. Hold 1 minute on each side.
Next, is a great chest opener. This feels particularly amazing after a bunch of pushups. 🙂 Sit on your butt with your feet in front of you and your hands behind. Slide your bottom forward till your feel a stretch across your chest and the front of your shoulders. Hold for 1 minute.
Lastly is a partial yoga pose. These are the arms from Eagle Pose. This one looks more complicated than it really is. Just sit nice and tall. Bring your arms out in front of you. Cross one elbow over the other, then wrap your forearms till your palms touch. You may not get your palms to touch all the way- that’s ok. Get as far as you can. Now squeeze your forearms together and pull your arms up. You will feel the stretch along your back and shoulders. It feels amazing. Hold for 1 minute then switch which arm is on top.
That’s it! 10 beautiful minutes of fabulous stretching. Make sure to take lots of deep breathes while you are holding each stretch. Oxygen helps to calm our minds and detox our bodies which is especially great right before bed.
I have to thank my amazing friend Aliza from, Photography by Aliza, for taking such amazing pictures of me! If you are in the Sacramento area and need pictures taken (she is especially great with kids!!!) let me know and I’ll get you her info! 🙂
Love and Joy,
- How Do You Split? (lrdancechicago.wordpress.com)
- Stretching Series: Knees and Legs (adultballerinaproject.com)
- 10 Essential Stretches for Athletes (sykose.com)
- Running Injury Prevention Tips (epicasports.com)
- An Insider’s Guide to Injury Prevention (saltyrunning.com)
- 5 Ways to recover for the next run – The first 15 minutes after a run (longdistance06.wordpress.com)
- 5 keys to recover for the next run (longdistance06.wordpress.com)
- Preventing sports injuries | Guest Column (redmond-reporter.com)