Monday, April 5, 2010

That'sa Stretch!

What is the most important task you can do in the mornings when you first get outta that bed that will reap the most benefits as you age?

Let’s see.... Is it....
*Bathroom stop?
*The first refreshing cool glass of filtered water?
*Brushing and Flossing teeth?

Well... of course all of the above are crucial and critical to good health.... but the ONE thing missing is....

S T R E T C H I N G!!!

YES! Even our pets know the importance of this ritual. Every morning, as soon as they get their little bodies out of bed, my Jack n Jill beagles stretch their whole bodies.

People! Each day, we are fighting against nature’s cruelty of gravity and aging. These wreak havoc on our bodies. Gravity pulls us DOWN..DOWN..DOWN..... Our spines collapse, our necks fall and our heads jut forward and down. Our shoulders round and turn in, our chests cave in and we lose inches off our height.

As we age, the ligaments and tendons in our legs (and over our whole body) lose their elasticity and our ankles begin to weaken with age and weight. Our feet grow longer and widen because they flatten out. We lose the arches and the feet begin to pronate. Without the strength of the tendons and ligaments and muscles, they simply cannot hold up.

WOW!!! Bummer, huh?

Well... a lot of this can be prevented or at least postponed if we simply take the time and stretch our whole bodies every morning.... first thing....before anything else... Well, maybe except for the bathroom stop..... LOL!

In addition to addressing the issues mentioned above, the benefits of stretching are endless. Did you know that most heart attacks occur on Monday mornings? Regular stretching helps with circulation, gets that heart pumping steadily, & keeps it healthy and ready to meet each day. (as well as a healthy food plan, regular exercise, at least 7 hours of sleep each night and meditation to relieve stress)

Stretching elongates that spine & neck, assisting you in standing up... standing taller. Stretching releases the stress from all the joints allowing the tendons, ligaments and muscles to perform their functions without issues. Stretching improves your balance, flexibility and coordination. Stretching prevents injuries from performing daily activities of life.

Here are some suggestions: Hold each one for at least 10 seconds or more. NO BOUNCING on any of these.

REACHING FOR THE STARS: stand tall and raise your arms straight up like you are reaching for the stars.

HUG YOURSELF: stand tall and wrap your arms around your chest and give yourself a hug.

BUTTERFLIES: stand tall; with elbows bent bring your arms back like wings. Squeeze the scapula and open up your chest.

BENDOVERS: stand tall, bend from the hips, with knees slightly bent, touch your knees, your ankles, your toes, or the floor. Whichever is comfortable. Do NOT force this. As you progress, your flexibility will improve and you can reach further!

RUNNER STRETCHES: squat down on the floor, place one leg all the way back behind you and carefully stretch that leg. Switch to the other side.

QUADS: stand tall, bend back one leg at knee and grasp your ankle. Keep knees close together. Gently pull until you feel the quad muscles stretch. Make sure the opposite knee is slightly bent. Switch to the other side.

HAMS: stand tall and place one leg on a chair or bench. Carefully bend forward until you feel the stretch in the hamstring muscle. Make sure the opposite knee is slightly bent. Switch to the other side.

CALVES & SHINS: stand tall, take one foot and flex it. You can feel the calf muscles stretch. Now take the foot and extend it, feeling the pull around the shins. Make sure the opposite knee is slightly bent. Switch to the other side.

So, tomorrow morning... take an extra few minutes and give your body a wonderful “wake-up” for a change. Make this a habit and you will feel so great and your body will thank you!!

Until Next Time....


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