After hours indoors, it is so nice to get the heart rate up, the good chemicals flowing and be out in the arms of nature. I feel like nature feels our need right now and is currently showing off BIG STYLE with it’s beauty and sunshine! It is very easy when we have limited time to speed into our exercise time, shower and then get back to working or childcare. But what happens if this is what we always do with no cool down or stretch? We get VERY VERY TIGHT and this tightness pulls our body out of alignment. But what does that mean?
Alignment is when our bones are stacked on top of one another. In perfect alignment, the body is not under strain and can move and function with total efficiency. No one is perfectly aligned! But yoga and stretching alongside body awareness and conditioning work means that we are likely to be contributing positively to this. When muscles become tight, our bones and joints are pulled in directions that bring us out of alignment and often causes aches or pains in the body. Runners are often tight through the quads and hip flexors
(muscles in the front of the thighs). If not addressed consistently then this can lead to an anterior tilt in the pelvis which limits hamstring elasticity, weakens your lower stomach muscles and adds strain to your lower back. Tight glutes (muscles in your bottom) can add to this lower back discomfort and limit hip mobility. If you remember why you are stretching after your run (other than you feel like you “probably should”) then you are more likely to maintain that healthy habit! Yay for a comfortable back!
Here is an easy 10 – 15 minute stretch sequence that you can do when you get in from your walk or run. It always feels so good to sweat and stretch! Your muscles are warm and therefore will be more receptive to stretching. Whilst you are doing this, focus on lengthening your breath. This will stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system helping to keep you calm and grounded whilst reducing stress and anxiety. Both low to mid intensity repetitive cardiovascular exercise and breathing exercises help your mental health so this is a perfect combination if you are in need of a boost.
If you enjoyed this video and would like to try more of our short yoga sequences then check out our stretch and relax yoga series. I filmed these three short yoga sequences when we first went into isolation to help with the anxiety that change brings. There is something about going to your yoga mat, your familiar place and connecting with your breath that makes you realise you are home. And that is the safest place to be right now.
So happy to be supporting you and your fitness in these challenging times.
Victoria and the Free Spirit team xxx