Thursday, June 25, 2020

Stretch Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Stretch Yourself

I’ve had a some of my readers and family members ask about my morning stretch routine after I referenced it in How to Avoid Burnouts While Working at Home. The routine I use is based on some yoga moves and standard stretches. I highly recommend some sort of routine to get the blood moving throughout your joints for anyone over the age of 30.

Mine lasts about 10 minutes and I do it 4 to 6 days a week. The variation is just based on how stiff I feel in the morning.

When I first started out, I did the hold-positional stretches for about 15 to 20s, gradually increasing them to 30 to 40s. Figure out what gets you loose and is comfortable to do. You're not shooting for overdoing it.
  • Starter: 20 to 30 deep breaths to help wake up and get lungs cleared for the day
  • Deep Squat hold
    • Arms stretched out in front of you, w/ your triceps resting on your knees
    • Calves touching the lower back of thighs (just above the knees)
    • Feet as narrow as you can get them without losing balance in the hold
    • I originally started out with a very wide stance and have worked to get my feet closer
    • Ideal is with both feet touching
    • Aim to feel your shins working to keep you from toppling, but not so much that you're barely able to keep balance
  • Bent Knee Triangle Pose (Hold left, then hold right):
  • Downward Dog
    • You want to shoot for getting your heels on the ground
    • This is especially helpful for Plantar Fasciitis that kicks in for me from time to time
  • Upward Dog
    • You may want to start with your knees on the ground at first
    • Aim for coming off of your knees
    • Don't let your shoulders shrug...get the head sticking up and out of your shoulders
    • Slow transition from Downward Dog to Upward Dog (don't hold, but do this 5 to 10 times)
    • This is to get blood flow to all of your major pivot joints in shoulders, hips and ankles
  • Supine Twist (Hold left, then hold right)
  • Pull Up Dead Hang (30s to 1 minute)
    • To relieve pressure on spine and hips, as well as stretch out chest and shoulder blades, while increasing shoulder mobility
    • Focus on passive shoulders
    • For the last 10s, imagine you're holding a roll of sock between your knees, and alternately pull one leg further down, then alternate (big thank to Ken M for suggesting this option)
    • I also sometimes take an extra 5 to 10s and do some mellow swinging scissors with my legs to use momentum and gravity to further pull my hips down
Be sure to experiment on your own to find what works best for you. When you do, email me with any new routine your follow.