Here is habit # 2 of my 22 weeks of healthy habits for 2022! This week is all about stretching.
Stretching keeps our muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in our joints. Without stretching, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you use the muscles, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That increases the risk for joint pain, strains, injury, and muscle damage.
Sometimes we forget (I know I do!) how important it is to remain limber, focusing so much on strength and cardio training.
But stretching is important for our overall health and should be practiced regularly.
I could talk your ear off about stretching (seriously – call me!). But let’s start with the profound power of the simple Downward Dog, maybe the most familiar pose from yoga – even for people who’ve never taken a class. I include this asana (pose) in all my classes and privates.
Downward Dog both stretches and strengthens the body like few moves, making it a 2-for-1 special. It uses strength from the shoulders, triceps and core as you push your butt up toward the ceiling. And it stretches the posterior chain, including hamstrings, calves and Achilles tendon.
Downward Dog places your head lower than your heart, which can produce a calming, restorative effect. And it extends your mid-upper back, preventing the rounded posture you see on hunched-over “old” people. This pose is an “inversion” which creates healthy blood by letting the blood flow throughout the body in an opposite direction.
To strike the pose, get on your hands and knees, fingers pointing front, and then lift your rear end — try to get your body in an inverted V. Straighten the arms, driving the shoulders away from the floor. Also, push your heels to the floor to stretch your calves.
If you’re new to it, hold for about 15 seconds, and then gradually work toward the minute range.
If you’re feeling rounded over, try other stretches for your back, shoulders and chest – which will bring their own benefits, as well. The point is to enjoy the pose, not to “do it better” than somebody else.
I am here to talk about stretching, yoga, nutrition, or any other questions you have. Flexibility feels great!
Next week I will reveal some of my favorite delicious snacks that fuel our body for optimal health.
If you want more support and/or you want to join the Badass Healthy Women private Facebook group–click this and let me know. I am here to support, motivate and gently remind us how important our healthy living is and how a community of like-minded women keeps us on track!
Here’s to living badass, healthy and joyful in 2022!
This NEW YEAR and always; May you nourish. May you move. May you be mindful.