I mean it. This is not a “bait and switch” blog where I am going to tell you that you actually need to “feel the burn” or “no pain, no gain”.
In fact, there are plenty of things you can do to keep yourself tuned up that are super easy.
Perhaps the only hard part is remembering to do it (them).
The following suggestions are for things you can stick into your day. You may be feeling stiff or lethargic from sitting for a while, or you may need to counteract repetitive motions that you need a break from. Whatever the reason, it’s always good to have a few things in your arsenal to get yourself back on track, feeling better, and getting more energized.
Principles and Examples
In case you are inclined to think up some of this stuff yourself, here’s a few principles that you can use, along with some examples.
- Keep things contained…no extremes. If you are doing something randomly during the day, chances are you will not have warmed up. Keep your movements slow and controlled. Explore how far you can go.
- Do some movements that are the opposite of what you have been doing. As a very basic example, stand up if you have been sitting down a lot. Get some things moving that haven’t been. Example: Your shoulders. Stand up, put your hands on the front of your shoulders, and do some gentle shoulder circles, forward and back, keeping your hands on your shoulders and elbows bent.
- Go against gravity. Example: Stand up and rise up on your toes several times. You will feel you calves working, and this is good! Extra pointer about this: Get your feet into a position where your heels are together and your toes are pointed out. Then rise up on your toes several times. This will hit your lower leg muscles in a different way. You can do the same with your toes together and your heels pointed out.
- Stretch muscles that are shortening if you sit a lot. BIG example: Your hip flexors. They are important muscles that reside in the front of your hips. To give these muscles a break, stand up, put one leg fairly far behind the other (as you would if you are doing a lunge) and then press forward to stretch the front leg hip flexor. See graphic of this using a chair below.
- For those of you who stand up a lot because of your work or life in general, sitting down is not necessarily the answer! To give yourself a break while standing, alternate bringing one knee to your chest, and then the other one, several times. Pull the knee toward the chest with your hands to make this more effective. This will help to get your back into its optimal curve for standing. You can also check your posture. Often when we stand for periods of time, our backs start to make an exaggerated curve and our tummys start to droop forward. This can be very fatiguing, and not good for your back in the long run. So, while you bring your knees to your chest, be sure to stand tall. PS. If you do sit down for a break, sit tall in good posture. This will take pressure off your back and shoulders.
That’s it! I told you it would be quick and painless! Feel free to use these principles to come up with your own personal antidotes to postures and actions that sap your energy.
© 2019 Kristen Carter. All rights reserved.