What Does Healthy Look Like to You?

by - August 29, 2017

Do you stretch?  If not, why not?  When I talk to people about their health routines the reasons they give me for not doing something, like stretching is 'I don't have time'.  Trust me I get it.  So many of us don't have the luxury of a 45 minute stretch or yoga session and if we do it's limited to once or maybe a couple of times a week.  Today I'm sharing with you three simple stretches that I do every morning to get my blood flowing, release sleepy stiffness and decompress my spine.  I'd like to state I am not a physician and if something hurts when your doing these stretches or hurts in general consult YOUR physician.  All three of these exercises will take no more than ten minutes in the morning and once you start doing them and it becomes routine you'll want to do them for more than ten minutes, at least that has been my experience.  Here are some articles I found helpful in explaining the benefits of stretching in the morning, onetwo and three.

The first stretch is neck rotation.  I suggest gentle, slow and controlled side to side and up and down movements.  Just a couple times to relieve stiffness and warm up the neck muscles.  The moves are so simple and take less than a minute in the morning.

Bridge stretches are known to strengthen your spinal muscles and help rid the back pain most of us get from our work desks.  My version of the bridge is simple, there are more advanced versions like this one for those more advanced or yoga experienced.  When doing this stretch be sure to not put pressure on your neck to avoid neck injuries.  I start by laying on my back with my knees folded towards the sky, arms at my sides and palms downwards.  Then I  lift my midsection towards the sky in a slow and controlled motion.  I usually repeat this stretch 20 times, I like the way it feels.

The last stretch I do is a forward fold with chest expansion.  I start by clasping my hands together behind my back and bending forward reaching my head towards the toes but in towards the knees, letting the head and arms hang heavy.  I focus on three areas while stretching; my legs, my shoulders and my chest.  I try and get a good fold to stretch my legs and I really push through the stretch to try and push my head closer to the floor.  I suggest taking it easy at first, eventually gaining more flexibility and balance.  I also focus on a good shoulder stretch by pushing my arms down towards the floor.  This also helps my third focus area, the chest.  The further the stretch the wider the chest expansion.  This stretch really wakes me up in the morning!  Maybe it's because three areas of the body are hard at work or maybe it's the inversion of the head, it really gets my blood flowing.

Thank you for reading!
Editors note: This a opinion piece based on what works for me, I am not a physician.

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