If you’re a modern human with a fast-paced life, chances are that you probably do not stretch your body enough. Perhaps you leap into every day headfirst with a to-do list on your tackle sheet, squeezing in physical exercise only when it suits your schedule and fits in with your priorities.
However, taking care of your body should be your highest priority. If you are in bed with pain, you won’t be able to take care of your kids, your husband, your parents, your job or most important: yourself. Anyone who has suffered a back injury or any other sort of ongoing chronic body pain will tell you how much an unhealthy system can effect every other part of your life. It is crucial that you give your body the tender love and care that it deserves, so that you can set yourself up for a healthy, pain-free future. Stop making excuses, and start sneaking stretches into your day!
1. Are you a snooze button aficionado? As you’re laying in bed contemplating your plans for the day, take several moments to stretch out long, from your fingers to your toes to the top of your head. You get immediate positive reinforcement – another few minutes in bed – and you’ll set yourself up for the day in a healthy mindset that puts your body first.
2. Spend a few more minutes in the shower, which is an ideal place to stretch because the hot water and steam relaxes your muscles. Don’t get too crazy in this wet environment; just do a few neck rolls, sky stretches and toe-touching bends.
3. Do you have a cat or dog? Every time you see your pet stretch, you stretch. Use Fluffyface as a tangible reminder to get off your rear and give it a good downward dog, or perhaps just a standing stretch towards the sky.
4. If you work at a desk most of the day, it is crucial that you change up your body’s position so that you don’t develop the dreaded shoulder slump with concurrant lower back pain. Sign up for a free smart phone app like Alarmed or Timeless Reminders, and schedule a “beep” to go off every hour that you will be at your desk. When the alarm goes off, stand up and stretch for a few moments before getting back to work.
5. Stuck waiting in line at the post office, grocery store or ATM? Lift up onto your toes and stretch towards the sky, roll your shoulders in circles or wiggle your feet. If you’re worried about people giving you funny looks, get over it. Remind yourself that you’re a grown ass woman or man that doesn’t need the tacit approval of every stranger that you meet. Freedom of expression feels fantastic!
6. Anytime you plop down to watch a movie or some trash TV, balance out the brainless entertainment with a few full body stretches. Get on the floor and reach for your toes, stretch out your back and do some easy yoga moves to strengthen your core.
7. Once you’ve worked some sneaky stretching into your life, it’s time to make it a permanent daily ritual. Start with five minutes of morning stretches each day, rewarding yourself with a new magazine, spa night or other treat when you complete an entire 7-day stretch of stretching. Now you can add in a nighttime ritual of stretching every evening, and then once you’ve mastered that, add in a noon break for your body. Soon, stretching will become just another part of your day, like brushing your teeth and eating breakfast. You will find that you enjoy treating your body like the temple that it is, and you will treat yourself to a life with less pain.