Monday, August 6, 2012

Post Long Weekend Stretching

We just got back from a weekend camping trip with the kids and the canoe. Despite the 4 of us sleeping on a rather uncomfortable air mattress my body feels great - no aches, no pains. Must be from all that bare foot walking in the woods, climbing on rocks, squatting to pee, splashing in the lake and just being relaxed!
Or, now that I'm thinking about it, maybe there is just a bit of a tense trace of that air mattress in my back ....
And just in case you have some aches and pains from the weekend or otherwise, here are two of my favorite stretches.

The first one must be the Calf Stretch the restorative exercise way:
I am using a piece of foam roller sliced in half but a tightly rolled up towel or a couple of books work too. Get the ball of one foot on the item on hand, keep the heel on the floor, place the other foot next to the one stretching. Or behind or in front. Depending on how tight your calfs are.
Make sure that your feet don't turn out and keep your hips square. Try to relax your quadriceps muscles so that your knee cap is released.  Hold it for 30second and work up to holding it for 1minute or longer.

This is just the BEST! And maybe you can feel it all the way into your lower back.

The other one that can even be done while lying in bed is the Crescent Stretch and it stretches the side of your torso (obliques) and you can even get some IT band action if you are lucky.

Lie on your back with your arms and legs extended. Check if your bra line is touching the floor: your rib cage should ideally have contact with the floor (unlike mine in the pic). You can put a pillow or two under your head to help. Make your shoulder blades nice and wide as well.

Then do this: 

Start forming a crescent or c-shape with your body and as you do it focus on getting your hip further away from your rib cage - to really lenghten the side of your torso. 

Then just plonk the outside foot over the inside foot and .... breathe.

Hold both of these stretches for at least 30 secs, ideally for a minute and by all means for longer. And I know it's unnecessary to add but ... stretch the other calf and the other side of your body, too.

Good night!


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