As some of you may know, I am a big fan of flexibility. My fanaticism is not unfounded. I have seen the benefits of flexibility practices first hand. Clients who were once back-surgery bound have become upright, pain-free, and mobile machines. Through steady, consistent, and targeted stretch routines you can change the face of your health. Continuing with our monthly theme of flexibility, today’s feature highlights an essential health secret you must know. Put your flexibility first!
By putting your flexibility first you will dramatically improve a range of health concerns such as back pain, knee pain, neck pain, hip pain, and/or shoulder pain.
If you have ever sworn off activities because of muscular pain, or surrendered to living in pain daily, make a mental note of this health secret. Print it out, put it on your frig, and pay attention. When you put flexibility first you create a foundation for health success.
Take for example, one of my recent clients, Jenny. Jenny was all geared up to run her first marathon. Unfortunately, she never made it to the starting line. A week before the race she strained her back and was unable to run. A month later, when I saw her, she was still in pain. When I asked her about her training program she shared she only stretched for about an hour a week. Had Jenny been stretching regularly it is likely she would have made it across the starting and the finishing line. Luckily, Jenny’s was a recreational pursuit and she will have more opportunities to race.
Jon, a professional guitar player, has a different situation. His successful career keeps him strumming almost 3 hours daily. Without stretching his muscles became tight. His tight muscles then trapped his nerves relaying numbness and tingling down his arm making playing painfully impossible. Finally, after experiencing enough pain and taking off time from work, Jon reprioritized and put his flexibility first. Practicing targeted stretches Jon restored his muscle length relieving the numbness and tingling in his arms. Now, Jon is back on the job.
Last week, I sent you a simple hamstring stretch to help you relieve low back tension. Did you practice it? If not, why? Take a moment to reflect on how flexibility can help you improve your life. This week take action. Make a commitment to stretch a minimum of ten minutes a day.
This week’s stretch is a pain-relieving posture. It will help you to release the hamstrings, relieve low back pain, and prevent hip pain. Personally, I love to end the day with this stretch. It is simple, rejuvenating, and effective. Give it a try. If you are a parent consider including your kids in your end of the day stretch. Kids love to participate. Or you can make it a couples event. Invite your spouse or significant other to join you. Share in the bliss of stretching. 🙂
1. Sit next to a wall.
2. Place the side of your body flush to the wall and bend your knees into your chest.
3. Bring your lower back onto the floor while bringing the legs up the wall, support yourself with your elbows as you do this.
4. Lower the whole back down to the floor.
5. Straighten your arms next to your body.
6. If you are comfortable, stay here several minutes or more (15 to 20 minutes recommended).
7. To come out, bring the knees into your chest and roll to your side.
You may wish to support the low back with pillows or folded blankets. Place pillows or blankets right at and parallel to the wall under your low back.
Put flexibility first! Share the secret with your friends, families and loved ones. They will thank-you.