Many of us are spending a lot of time indoors at the moment. This probably means that your body may be experiencing an unusual lack of movement, closing down into sedentary positions without the little bursts of activity that pepper a normal day. Too much time sitting down can wreak all sorts of havoc on the body, from loss in cardiovascular fitness or muscular definition to daily aches and pains that crop up through poor posture.
A daily walk, run or cycle outdoors gives your body a break and an opportunity to revitalise (here are our favourite tips to make the most of your walk). However, it is equally important to help your body recalibrate through stretching to make sure that you loosen up the muscles before jumping from inaction to action and avoid shocking the body.
Stretching helps repair muscles and strengthen between workouts by boosting your circulation, thus oxygenating the muscles and channeling vital nutrients around the body. It is especially important to support good posture and avoid unnecessary pressure on the joints, bones and back muscles. Remember: it’s important to only stretch muscles when they’re already warm to avoid injury. Just going up and down the stairs or doing a spot of tidying-up will do!
Here are a few great stretches for spending a lot of time indoors and for walking alike:
- Reset the Body: ‘Baby rocking’ is a great, easy way to re-activate mobility, flexibility and stability in your entire body.
- Find a soft surface and position yourself on your hands and knees. Place your knees directly underneath your hips, and hands directly underneath your shoulders. At your own pace, sit back as far as you feel comfortable then rock forwards to return to the starting position. Take care to only rock forwards to the starting position, as pushing further could upset your lower back. Repeat until your body feels light and free to move easily, which will usually only take between 30 seconds and 1 minute. You can do this several times a day!
- Upper body:
- Simple extension: Sit upright with your hips slightly higher than your knees with your chin slightly dropped, eyes level with the horizon. Take a deep breath in as you lift your chest up and arch it backwards looking up to the ceiling. Exhale, and slouch forwards into a rounded shoulder posture. Repeat this 10 times.
- Shoulder shrugs: Relax your back muscles, slowly lift your shoulders to your ears for five seconds and release gently. Repeat 10 times.
- Lower body:
- Hamstring: Stand with your feet staggered, left a few inches in front of your right. Flex your left foot to lift your toe upwards. Engage your core, and tilt forwards from the hips, resting your hands on your right thigh for support. Hold this for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
- Calves: Stand facing a wall, placing your hands on the wall square with your shoulders. Stagger your feet one in front of the other with the front leg bent and back leg straight. Keep both heels on the floor. You should feel a stretch down the back of your lower leg. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite leg.
- Quads: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Engage your core, and bend your right knee to bring your foot towards your bottom, holding the ankle with your right hand. Make sure your core is engaged. You should feel a stretch across the top of your thigh. Hold this for 30 seconds and repeat on your left side.
Keeping safe and well doesn’t have to mean sacrificing mobility and movement. Staying flexible and fit can be easy and injury-free. At Natural Fit, we look forward to welcoming you to our restorative and revitalising classes, treatments and personalised training programmes.
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