For years the fitness industry has pushed stretching exercises on us. There’s been much discussion and controversy around whether to stretch before an activity, after or both. Then there are tons of opinions on which stretches to do, how to do them and how long to hold them for. It’s no wonder that many people, including me, dislike stretching. I always saw it as a necessary evil but it would be the first thing I would turn to when my back seized up or my knee started to hurt.
I can’t say that I’ve given up on stretching completely but my attention has shifted to movement exercises. For some reason, I have managed to fit 6 movements into my morning routine. Maybe it’s because it feels so good when I’m doing them so there is that instantaneous gratification thing going on. Beyond that, my body feels so much better for doing them regularly. My back and knee pain has pretty much disappeared.
The following 3 exercises are for the upper body. When you’re doing any of the movement exercises go slowly and pay attention to what your body is telling you.
- Neck Circles: Drop your chin to your chest, and then gently roll your head to the right, then back (look at the ceiling), then to the left, and then to the starting position. Complete 2 repetitions in one direction, and then 2 the other way.
- Shoulder Rotations: Standing tall with your arms relaxed by your side, pull your shoulders forward squeezing your chest together, then slowing move them up toward your ears and then back so that you’re squeezing your shoulder blades together, then continue down and back to the starting position. Your arms are at your side for the entire movement. Do 2 slow revolutions forward and backward.
- Arm Rotations: Standing tall, reach your arms straight out in front of you and spread your fingers as wide as you can on both hands. This position feels like a wonderful stretch. From here lift your arms slowly, maintaining this position, over your head and then back, down, and around to the starting position. Do 2 slow revolutions forward and backward.
There are 3 more exercises that I do as part of this routine. I will share them next week so stay tuned. In the meantime, get these into your morning routine. It will take you less time to do them than it takes you to think about doing them. Every day that you do get them done you will increase your range of motion a little bit more.
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