Burn the couch!
Lately I realized that I’ve stopped stretching as much as I used to. Somewhere in my forties I started running (really walk/running) and have experienced that “complete” feeling that runners have after an hour of cardio activity. After a good, intensive run, I feel fantastic and often forget to take time to stretch. Consequently my joints have gotten very stiff and tight and my posture feels off. Now I know how my runners get that way!
My new commitment is to stretch each and every day. I keep a yoga mat and foam roller behind a chair in the corner and I pull it out as soon as I get home. Either before or after dinner I get down on the floor and do as much stretching as I have the time or energy for.
Here’s my routine: (Pop in the office for a copy!)
- Lie on the foam roller vertically reaching the arms out to the side to open up the chest. Reach overhead with both arms, palms together. Grasp one arm with a hand above the elbow and pull gently as if you are pulling the entire arm out of socket. (This feels better than it sounds!)
- Lie on the foam roller horizontally and roll firmly up the spine and back down several times. Arch over the foam roller lifting up the pelvis.
- Lie on my side with the foam roller under my armpit—leaning firmly into the muscles between the shoulder and shoulder blade. (Ouch!)
- Lie on my side with one leg crossed over and roll up and down the side of the leg over the foam roller. (Double ouch!)
- Sit on the foam roller (horizontally) and roll my hamstrings up and down, leaning forward.
- Lay on the foam roller (horizontally) face down and press firmly into the quads rolling up and down.
I used to sit on that old couch and talk with my husband or kids and time was just ticking by. Now I’m getting some exercise and working out the stress of the day instead. Sometimes I’ll even whip out some push-ups or abdominal exercises. I always sleep better for it!
To your health,
Dr. Kathleen Sherwood