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Ester Marsh: Always warm up before your stretching routine

Happy Easter! He has risen indeed!

I hope everyone is doing well and hanging in there. The best way to get through this social distancing due to the pandemic, is to keep as “normal” of a schedule as possible. If you normally get u at 7AM, try keep getting up around that time. Work on projects around the house, start a new hobby and keep moving! The YMCA and the Forum both hold Facebook Live classes to keep you moving right at home! We are all in this together and together we are strong!

As I promised last week, today I will be giving a stretching routine. Stretching is as important as cardio, strength and strength endurance. It increases your flexibility and range of motion. It increases blood flow to the muscles. It improves your performance not only in physical activities but also day to day activities. Stretching helps to improve your posture and with that relief and prevent back pain.

You should stretch a muscle group about 30 seconds. You can split this up in 2 stretches of 15 seconds or 3 stretches of 10 seconds. You can over stretch so do not use the “more is better” principle with stretching. Let your body tell you where to hold it. NO PAIN, slight discomfort. I would not go over 1-minute stretches. You can move from one to another and come back if you like.

Always warm up before you stretch. The increased blood flow in your muscles will help you stretch better and prevent injuries from over stretching cold muscles.

5-10 minutes warm up should be fine. You can use the workout from last Sunday’s paper for warm up (and workout) or walk around the block, march in place or dance!

We are going to start from the top and work our way down. All can be done from seated or standing position. Make sure you lengthen your spine and breathe!

  • Turn head easily to left and hold then same to the right. 3×10 seconds each side.
  • Gently bring left ear towards left shoulder (without moving shoulders up) you wont touch but you are lengthening the right side of the neck. Same to other side and 3×10 seconds each side.
  • Stand or sit, open arms like you are ready to give big hug and hold them open. You can also hold a door frame and do one side at a time. Relax the shoulders keep your neck long. 2 sets of 15 seconds.
  • Right hand on your hip, left arm stretches next to left ear up. Lean over slightly lengthening your left side. Same to other side 2 sets of 15 seconds each side.
  • This is best (safest) from seated position. Open arms wide so they are horizontal, turn towards your left holding arms up, relax shoulders and keep neck log and breathe. Same to other side hold 10 seconds do 3 sets each side.
  • Seated position on the floor or on the chair. On floor, bend one leg so the bottom of the foot is on the inside of the straight leg (near the knee) lengthen upper body and reach towards your toes. On chair, extend one leg to the front other leg stays bend. You scoot a little bit forward but make sure the chair is stable. Same, lengthen body and reach forward and down towards your foot. Do each side 2 times for 15 seconds.
  • Standing or seated. Standing, hold on wall or chair and bend left leg and grab ankle. Left knee is points down to the ground, press your hip forward feeling stretch in front upper leg (quads). Seated, slide towards the left of your chair and bring left leg towards the back. If you can grab ankle and do the same as standing. If that doesn’t work, NO WORRIES just slide that leg back till you feel a stretch. 2 sets again of 15 seconds each on each side.
  • Standing, hold chair or wall, bring one leg to the back and push heel down on the floor. Make sure its straight not angled. 2 sets of 15 seconds. Seated, bring one leg forward again and bring the toes up (dorsi flex) and make yourself long and reach towards that foot. You will feel again in hamstring but also in calf.

Make sure to stay kind to one another, if possible, help the ones in need (owing their yard, pick up their groceries etc.)

Next week exercises to keep or get your arms nice and firm!

Until then

In health and happiness

Ester H Marsh Health & Fitness Director JF Hurley Family YMCA.

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