OPPORTUNISTIC STRETCHING FOR PRACTICAL FITNESS
Opportunistic stretching for practical fitness is about stretching while doing everyday activities. This will help you to remain nibble and keep your muscles activated!
On days where I do not actually do a stretch or practice yoga, I am sure to take/make opportunities to stretch while doing my regular chores around the house. In Practical Fitness In Life we took a look at what practical fitness is. I asked five questions by which you could start to gauge practical fitness.
MATCHING QUESTIONS WITH OPPORTUNITIES TO STRETCH
- Can you balance on one leg without holding onto anything for stability? Muscles that are nibble aid in balance, which is important to safety. While making coffee or tea in the morning, practice balancing on one leg and then the other for 10 seconds. Rest a hand on the counter if need be. Increasing the time per side in 5 second increments and eventually let go of the counter top will improve muscle stability over time.
- Can you lift your arms up above your head without pain? Lifting your arms above your head activates all the muscles down your arms into your back. When reaching into the higher cupboards in the kitchen, take the opportunity to stretch a little further up than you need to. The further up you stretch, the further down your back you should feel the work!
- Can you bed over and tie your shoes without assistance? There was a time after a car accident that I could not do this without a heck of a lot of pain. Many people have to sit to tie shoes or balance on something in order to accomplish this task. While tying your shoes, flex your toes up towards the ceiling while bending at the waist for 10 seconds. Be sure to do both legs. Over time you can increase the amount of time stretching. By stretching the muscles up the back of your leg you will increase leg stability and strength.
- Does sitting or standing for long periods of time create back pain? Standing in one spot for a long time can lead to back pain. Sitting a long while can sometimes do the same thing. Strengthening your back and neck (and your abs) will help with this. There are so many ways you can stretch your back while sitting. Healthline.com has 5 seated back pain stretches that will help you with this. You can do these while working, sitting at the kitchen table or watching television.
- Can you sit on the floor and get back up to a standing position without assistance from a person or something like a chair? This is a BIG one! When our muscles become tight and pain becomes a daily event, getting down onto the floor and back up safely without assistance becomes very tricky. The above stretches will help you with this. I would also suggest that you spend some time on the floor while watching TV or a movie and add in some stretching while you are down there. Put your legs in a V-shape position and lean into the centre spot and each leg direction for 10 seconds in each. Again over time your can add 5 seconds increments to increase the flexibility in your legs. Be sure to keep your back straight. In Part 1 – A Head-to-toe Stretch I review the guidelines for safe stretching. You need to be very careful while getting back up, but eventually this will get easier.
MORE OPPORTUNISTIC STRETCHING FOR PRACTICAL FITNESS
- Before even getting out of bed in the morning splay your limbs in every direction and stretch.
- Shower stretches with warm water on your back. While in the shower bend over to do toe touches. The warm water will feel great and you can increase flexibility over time.
- Door frame stretches. While moving about the house you can stretch by holding onto a door frame and gently moving into the doorway. You need to start out on a right angle to the door and lean in with your body weight gently behind you.
- Stretching your quads by putting your foot on a chair at your desk or in the kitchen is a great way to add flexibility to this big muscle group. When you put your foot on the chair behind you and gently move your knee towards the floor you will feel the stretch in your quads.
- I could go on and on here. My suggestion is this. You know the ways your body moves and you know that your muscles are responsible for this movement. SO … you can create endless opportunistic stretching opportunities for practical fitness by using your imagination!
First I need to remind you of my disclaimer. Though once a RPN, fitness instructor and personal trainer, I know NOTHING about your situation personally. You must be cautious. Stretching is THE most important thing you can do to increase your practical fitness. Having muscles that will do what we ask of them will keep us mobile longer. Getting stiff and becoming immobile does not have to happen with age. There are those of us with limitations yes, but modifications make it possible for most everyone to practice stretching in daily life.
I want you to remember this. I am wanting to help each and everyone of you in any way I can. So please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and start a conversation. With more knowledge about your personal situation, I can help YOU more!
Stretch daily. Create opportunity to stretch while doing everyday tasks. Build a stretching practice.
livefatandfit and be well!