We’ve all experienced it. We do an everyday activity and all of a sudden—boom—we feel a stiffness or pain. It usually comes from lack of movement. We live and work in a very sedentary environment. Most of us have a schedule like this: arrive at work by 8 a.m., plop down at desk, get up around 10:00 a.m. for a quick coffee break, then sit back down again until 12:30 p.m. and get up for lunch. Outside of an occasional meeting or break, most people don’t move until 6:00 p.m. What’s wrong with this picture?
Our bodies were designed to move, not to stay in one position for hours on end. Exercise is a healthy habit that should be part of each day. When we don’t move, our flexibility wanes and our bodies react with stiffness and pain. Corrective exercise and a variety of stretches can help loosen up these muscles and bring your flexibility back to where it should be.
If you have yet to make exercise a part of your daily routine, start small: make it a point to take several breaks during the day to get up and stretch. Do it at your desk, take a walk or go up and down a few flights of stairs. Here are some stretches to do every day in order to keep your body limber and working properly. The trick is to make the commitment to do them frequently and ongoing – from there, build up to adding more cardio and strength training exercises to your routine.
Place your right arm shoulder height, palm forward at a 90 degree angle with the inside of your elbow touching the wall. Your right foot should be facing forward. Turn your chest to the left. Hold the contraction for 30 seconds before switching sides. Do 1-2 sets on each side.
Get down on your hands and knees. Extened your right arm on a foam roller or stability ball. Your chest should be off the ground and your other arm off to the side. Hold the contraction for 30 seconds before switching sides. Do 1-2 sets on each side.
Stand up tall and place your arms behind your back with your hands resting on top of each other. From this position, push your elbows forward and feel the stretch in the back of your shoulders. Hold this position for 30 seconds before switching sides.
How have you created healthy habits by incorporating exercise into your routine?
I Got Your Back!
The multifidus, a key member of the Inner Unit which usually protects a spinal joint, doesn’t activate properly when injured and quickly atrophies—as much as 25% in 24 hours—with the dysfunction continuing even after the symptoms of pain have disappeared. This occurs because, unlike many other muscles with polysegmental innervation, the multifidus has unisegmental innervation (it has no back up nerve to feed it in case of injury). If it shuts down, the part of the spine which it stabilizes is at the mercy of every impact force transmitted through the body.
So the key is to turn the multifidus back on. It’s not quite as easy as contracting a bicep, but the following exercise can help. By creating a diagonal shear force through the spine which the body perceives as threatening (and, indeed, it is under the right circumstances), the neuromuscular system overrides any neurological inhibition which has been caused either through pain or disuse.
Horse Stance Vertical Exercise
On hands and knees, lift one hand up just enough to slip a piece of paper underneath it. Do the same thing for the opposite knee.
Hold for 5-10s while minimizing any lateral deviations or change in spinal curvatures (basically stay still).
Switch and repeat for 5-10 reps each side.
At the same time, activating the pelvic floor muscles (the muscles one uses to stop the flow of urine) along with the TVA will help turn on the multifidus as they are all on the same neurological loop. Therefore, turning one muscle on helps to activate the other muscles.
Every day is a new opportunity to get active. What have you done today to prepare for swimsuit season?
This is a great booty busting exercise that promotes both a strong booty and core. Use balance and focus to perform this effective exercise. You can add a little weight to your ankle if you need more of a challenge.
Planking is more than just a silly trend! It’s a fast and effective core strengthening exercise that packs a punch! While it may look simple enough, holding the plank position for a full minute may take some time to work up to, but you will quickly notice your core becoming stronger.
When we asked for booty-kicking exercises… Stacey Garcia heard us! She sent us this tooshie-terminating exercise that is great for toning your rear end AND working out a little aggression! It’s like kickboxing on all fours!
We’ve done this kicks to the side and to back – but since we knew that the side kicks burned a little more than the back kicks, we made sure to have Rach show you how to do those:
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