Fitness & Yoga
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5 Simple Stretches for Winter (In)Activity

Whether you’re participating in winter sports, Netflix marathons, or in OT at your desk, stretching can benefit your well-being!  It only takes a few minutes to refresh your mind, relax your body, and prevent injuries.

*Hold each posture for at least 30 seconds or five breaths (2 count inhale – pause – 2 count exhale – pause)*

Clasping hands behind the back

–          This movement increases the range of motion in the shoulders and stretches across the chest.

How to:

–          Clasp your hands (palms together) or interlace your fingers (palms apart) behind your lower back

–          Relax the neck and shoulder to increase the stretch across the chest; keep chin parallel to the floor

–          Lift the hands to intensify the stretch

–          Modification: hold a cloth between the hands if your shoulders are tight and you cannot clasp your hands

Eagle (garudasana) arms

–          Stretches the muscles in the upper back, especially between the shoulder blades

How to:

–          Stack elbows in front of your chest and lift the hands up & away from the face; lower the shoulders away from the ears

–          Modification: grasp opposite shoulders if you cannot stack your elbows

Low lunges

–          Opens up the front of the hip and thigh

low lunge

How to:

–          Take a large step backwards with one foot and lower the back knee to the floor

–          For safe alignment, ensure that the forward knee is positioned directly above the forward ankle

–          Modification: use fingertips on the floor or a piece of furniture to assist with balance

Assisted half forward fold, half forward fold, or forward fold

–          When done correctly (by tilting the top of the pelvis forward instead of rounding the lower back), it stretches the hamstrings

–          Inversions bring the head below the heart to increase blood flow to the head

How to:

–          Keep a slight bend in your knees as you fold forward, placing your hands on furniture, fingertips on the floor, or tucking the forehead to the shins

–          Locking the knees may result in lower back strain, so make sure you are supported and keep the knees slightly bent

–          Modification: Choose assisted half forward fold (head above the heart) if you have high blood pressure that is not under control

Yoga squat

–          Stretches the calves, shins, inner thighs

–          Increases the range of motion in hips, knees and ankles

–          Strengthens balance

How to:

–          Position feet wider than hip width, toes turned slightly outward.  Lower hips into a squat and bring hands to the floor for balance or palms together in front of the chest

–          As you become more flexible, you can keep your chest upright instead of rounding forward

–          For safe alignment, make sure that the knees and toes point in the same direction

–          Modification: place books or a folded blanket under the heels if they do not reach the ground

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