Did you know that stretching boosts blood flow to the brain?
There’s a reason why we call it mind body exercise! PLUS it always just feels sooo good! Stretching out is just a highlight of my day!
I’m back to picking my favorites again- and this time to end 2018- I’m choosing my top 5 stretches….
As we head full force into winter - lets get energized and mobile!
Flexibility has three factors - muscle length, tendon length as well as joint depth.
Remember babes- you can ONLY change the length of your muscles!
Stretching lengthens muscles slowly. But you can’t change your tendons very much!
And you definitely cannot change the depth of your ball and socket joints as they are genetically determined....
Tendons get very little blood flow so they are not as pliable as your muscles. So always be careful not to stretch your joints too much or you could damage your tendons. They take time to heal so go slow…- always stretch the muscles belly center and be mindful of your joints.
I’ve never been able to do a full split and at my age I'm ok with that!!!
I do make it a point to stretch daily- even if just for a few minutes because it just keeps me feeling limber and keeps my back pain free. Here’s why:
Improved muscles fiber length and greater range of motion. This leads to better performance in daily life activities and sports. It also makes your strength exercises more effective.
Prevents injuries and reduces muscle soreness. Make sure you include when some before and after workouts. Plus it reduces how long your sore- getting you back to your next workout quicker!
Improves posture by reversing the tightening effects of sitting or extreme sports. Stretching can enhance your muscular coordination and body awraeness- helping you keep your spine and body aligned through prolonged periods.
Reduces lower lower back pain. Keeping the muscles around and by the spine can help improve your alignment. It can even reduce the likelihood of tension headaches!
Increases blood flow to muscles and brain. You’ll feel energized from increased circulation. When we feel lethargic, our muscles tighten, stretching reverses this! Try some of the below moves next time you need a pick me up
Reduces stress - stress causes muscles to contract and this contributes to a poor feeling of feel being. Stretching and deep breathing can restore your sense of calm
So get ready to stretch it out with me…
I went live on Instagram with these moves a few weeks back (make sure you’re following me there so you never miss a live event)
Feel free to scroll down to see the full video or check the images and tips for each of my favorite yoga inspired stretches!
5. Lying Hamstring Stretch
TARGETS : Hamstrings- Back of Thighs, Calves. Lower back
Lay back on mat and use a strap to hook your foot
Arms can hold strap or stabilize hips
Keep sides long and bend knee as needed
Try to keep hips and shoulder bones on mat
Spine in Neutral- dot flatten or over arch
VARIATIONS- cross leg to opposite side or out to same ear
4. Lying Twist
TARGETS :Back Sides Hips Chest
Lay back on mat and bring knee across to opposite hip
Opposite arm to knee and gently guide deeper into stretch
Same arm reaches out
reach long ling long and engage core
Shoulders stretch out to sides
Modifications- Use a block to knee if you can’t get knee to at
3. Shoulder Cross
TARGETS : Shoulders Back Hips
Sit kneeling and cross arms ad reach
Sit into a childs pose
Arms reach out to sides
Ise bodyweight to deepen the hold
Shoulders reach to list neck is long
Collarbones are wide gaze is forward
Make sure to do both sides and keep upper back engaged
2. Kneeling Lunge
TARGETS: Hip Flexors, Quads, Legs, Back Shoulders
Keep front knee over front foot
Front heel presses down and all 5 toe press evenly to mat
Keep chest prod and wide and hips squared to shoulders
Engage the back glute deep to open hip safely
Spine stays long, neck and tail in line
VARIATION: Side bend reaching arm over
1.Quad & Rocking Stretch
IIf there’s one we need the most this is it! it is not always easy for me but I know this position will help reverse computer posture and driving- keeping my spine in check:)
TARGETS: Quads, Chest Shoulders, Back
Widen chest and open hips
Engage abs and glutes for support
Neck aligns with spnine
Shoulders drop to waist
Knees and feet stay parallel don’t rotate out
MODIFY- with the one leg version
VARIATIONS- try hand inside feet
See the video for some modifications and more in depth cues and visuals
Let’s put them together now into one workout! I filmed this live on instagram and I had so much fun doing it with you:)