Sharon Hubbs-Kreft, Herbalist - Amazing Grace Herbals LLC

  (Keyport, New Jersey)
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Quick Stretches to get you motivated for a spring work out

The sun is bright and shining today, it makes you want to get moving and motivated for the summer months ahead. Let's face it, we all put on a couple pounds over the winter; our body goes into hibernation mode and we eat almost all the wrong goodies  - throw in holiday cookes and bake sales and forget it, we can be healthy and fit all year until the winter holidays!!!

Time to start getting into shape again and begin to work on losing those extra pounds. I have compiled a list of simple stretches to get you moving before you begin any type of work out. For some, these stretches are just enough, while for others it is a great warm up for their fitness program.

Tips for stretching

-          Warm your muscles slightly before stretching them. Walk or do some other light aerobic exercise for a few minutes, then start stretching.

-          Ease yourself into the stretch, relax, and don't push or bounce. You should feel a stretch in the muscle but not pain.

-          Exhale as you do the stretch. While you are holding the stretch, inhale deeply.

-          Try closing your eyes while stretching. It helps you relax and reduces self-consciousness and the urge to compete.

-          Take a moment to enjoy the good, warm feeling that comes after a good stretch.

        Physical activity is good for your health, but it does stress and strain your body in ways that a more inactive lifestyle does not. If it's done too suddenly or without basic precautions, exercise can lead to injury or illness. Even if you have long been active and are fit, keep safety in mind. Do not assume that basic precautions do not apply to you. The most important ways to avoid injury and illness are to: learn about the risks of any new activity you begin. Take lessons, if appropriate. Always use the safety gear that is recommended for your chosen activity, such as helmets and knee pads. Learn about the use and proper fit of safety equipment, begin an exercise routine slowly and gradually increase intensity and most importantly, pay attention to your body's signals, such as pain and fatigue, when starting a new activity or when increasing the intensity of your physical activity. General muscle soreness is common when you try a new activity, but pain can mean you're injured. If you are very tired, you may be doing too much too soon.

Stretches

Do all stretches gradually. Do not push or bounce the stretch. You should feel a stretch, not pain. While you hold the stretch, inhale. Exhale as you relax. These are basic stretches, please consult with your health care provider to be sure you are well enough to begin a stretching/exercise routine.

Latissimus stretch

  1. Stand with your back straight and your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold your arms above your head and lace your fingers.
  3. Pull upward while leaning to either side. Keep your lower body straight. You should feel the stretch along your side.

 

Triceps stretch

  1. Bring your right elbow straight up while bending your arm.
  2. Grab your elbow with your left hand and pull your right elbow behind you with light pressure.
  3. Switch elbows.

 

Calf stretch

  1. Place your hands on the back of a chair for balance.
  2. Step back with your left leg; keep the leg straight and press your left heel into the floor.
  3. Lean forward and bend your right leg slightly. Feel the stretch in your left calf.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

 

 

 

Quadriceps stretch

  1. Lie on your side with one hand supporting your head.
  2. Bend your upper leg back and grab your ankle with your hand.
  3. Stretch your leg back. If this causes stress on your knees, do not do this stretch.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

 

 

Groin stretch

  1. Sit on the floor and put the soles of your feet together. Keep your knees as close to the ground as possible and pointed outward.
  2. Grab your feet and gently pull yourself forward, bending at the hips.

 

 

Hamstring stretch

  1. Sit on the floor with the right leg extended out straight, the knee slightly bent, and the toes pointing toward you.
  2. Bend your left leg so that your left foot is next to the inside of your right thigh.
  3. Lean forward from the hips and reach for your right ankle. Do not try to touch your forehead to your knee.
  4. Switch legs.

I have formulated two herbal tea blends that have helped many get back into the work out mode after a long winter. My first blend is called Better Flex Tea and the second is called Slim Trim Diet Aid Tea. Both of these blends are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can help replace vitamins and minerals that may be lost while exercising or while beginning a new diet. Both blends can be found here at Local Harvest and as always, if you have any questions, feel free to email me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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