“We all have to start somewhere” is my go-to advice when encouraging somewhere to start a less than ideal new hobby/task. And while going to the gym or even working out at all may not be a priority to all of us, it is necessary in order to stay healthy. Most of the people I encounter rely simply on “genetics”, rather than actually being physical but the truth is you can’t avoid it forever. I guarantee you that it will catch up to you much sooner than later, both health and appearance wise. Ironically, in regards to me physical wellness isn’t all about the physical aspect, you know “looking good”, it’s more-so about feeling good to me! I want to be able to chase my students around without becoming tired in less than 60 seconds, I want to go hiking without having to stop for a break every 5 minutes, I want to go for a run without feeling like I’m going to pass out a mile later. I don’t just want to look fit I want to feel it too! And fitness doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go all out or even that you work out every single day; a physical act as small as taking 5-10 minutes to stretch will really make a difference. Whether it’s before bed, when you awake, in between loads of laundry, or while watching your favorite tv, the how and when doesn’t matter just as long as you’re partaking in the act of physical activity. And while some may not look at stretching as real physical activity or exercise I’m here to tell you that it definitely is! Exercise is literally any activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness. No set amount of time, no specific routine, no particular environment, just a consistent physical act. Therefore, I’m encouraging you to start slow and lock in the foundation of fitness & provide your body with what it needs to stay functioning. Which is to be stretched; in order to be flexible, strong, balanced, and to maintain a good range of motion in your joints. Lack of stretching or exercise will cause your muscles to shorten and become tight, then when you call on the muscles for activity, they will be weak and unable to extend properly. So please do yourself a favor and take some time to stretch your muscles/ tendons, and get your blood circulation flowing. It takes about 5-10 minutes to stretch out the main parts of your body, not much time at all. Create healthy habits that turn into your daily routine! Don’t know what stretches to start with? Check below, I’ve listed three of daily stretches and their benefits!
3 Daily Stretches
1. Figure Four- stretches hips, glutes, hamstrings, and lower-back. Easy way to knock out several stretches at once. (hold for 1-2 minutes, switch sides, repeat 3-5 times)
2. Hip Flexor- stretches hips, strengthens quads. Perfect stretch for tight hips and building muscle for legs. (tighten core, squeeze glutes, and hold for 1-2 minutes, switch sides and repeat 2-3 times)
3. Shoulder Squeeze- reverses poor posture and releases tension in upper-back. Elongates chest, promoting proper breathing and core tightening. (hold for 3 seconds and repeat 5 to 10 times)
(See cover photo of blog to see stretch positions or google them)