Creating a Flexibility Plan - Stretching is essential to good health.

Are those toes hard to reach these days or have you managed to maintain your flexibility? This would largely depend on your day to day activities, posture and general lifestyle. Personally, I love the feeling of being flexible but it is something I work on every day. My daily stretching routine, releases any subtle heaviness or pain in my joints and I believe it to be essential to long term health. 

Our hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, adductors, leg and spine muscles all the way to the neck area can be very restricted by sedentary living, such as a career that involves long periods of sitting. Muscles can shorten and tense, core muscles weaken and the many areas of the body, capable of a wide range of movement, can become wrapped in a thick lining of fascia.

The good news is, with great patience and commitment, flexibility can improve over time. The recommendations I offer in this blog are my favourite warm ups and 2 stretches. If you have an existing injury or misalignment, please create a flexibility plan with your doctor, physiotherapist or yoga therapist, one on one.

Remember to listen to your body, I never recommend pushing the body too far. Less is always more, when it comes to encouraging your muscles to release & strengthen.

IMG_2973.PNG

5 steps to greater flexibility

Step 1 – Relax

The number 1 most important stage of any good ‘Flexibility Plan’ is taking the time to relax. If muscles are already very tight and not warmed up, and we start trying to reach for those toes, injury and back strain can occur easily. For 1 week, I recommend you rest 15-20mn a day. Deep rest is essential to good health and the best place to start, when tension is building in the body.

Step 2 – Shake

As unusual as this step may sound, there is nothing like shaking the arms, wrists, fingers, then one leg at a time, circling the hips, bouncing a little and generally releasing surface tightness with a good shake all over.

Step 3 – Warm up

Now we need to warm up the body well. This can include stepping forward and back, lifting one knee and then the other in a marching movement, reaching one hand towards the ceiling and then the other, drawing big circles in the air and possibly going for a brisk walk.

Step 4 – Hip and hamstring stretch & lower back release

Lay on your back and draw one knee towards your chest and alternate. Draw both knees to chest and rock from side to side.

Step 5  - Listen

Listen to your own body and discover the movement that feels delicious. Move all the parts of the body into a range of motion that is comfortable for you. From your fingers to neck area, hips to spine. Move, listen, relax, release, discover your healthiest happiest body, one day at a time.  

For more information contact Narelle at narelle@pa2health.com

Narelle Hunter

Dru Yoga Therapist

Dru Meditation Teacher

Mindfulness Coach

Ed Stevens