Work & leisure are shifting to less movement; consider what you did in front of a screen today – e-mails, video calls, surfing the web, watching TV and more. You have maybe even heard the saying ‘sitting is the new smoking.’
It’s true, we are a lot less mobile than we used to be. Even if you workout everyday, one hour a day out of 24 hours is only slightly more than 4% of your day. So, while your workout is important, it’s a very small piece of your day and likely not enough to counteract sitting for long periods (9+ hours).
I believe that our movement practices need variety! I like to use the analogy of eating kale. Kale is a great source of many nutrients, however, if all you’re eating is kale you are missing out on other vital nutrients. Consider these exercises like really good supplements to whatever you’re already doing and if you’re just starting out, these are easy to incorporate.
Today we’re focusing on lower body and check out future posts for upper body movements:
Find an area where you can move around a bit, the only piece of equipment you’ll need to a yoga block, small ball or small weight, heck even small can of canned food would work.
Crab Walk – Warms up hips and helps with balance & mobility.
Squat down with feet hips distance or slightly wider apart. It’s ok if your heels are lifted. Walk forwards and backwards and try not to use your hands for balance. Keep your knees wide and notice if you’re putting more weight in areas, like sinking into your heels. Try to keep some weight in the balls of the feet. Repeat for 3 minutes. Bonus: stop and windshield-wiper your knees a few times.
Lunge // Balance Series – Hip/low back mobility, hamstring/glute stretch & balance.
Start in a low lunge position with the back knee all the way down. You want your knee more or less right below the hip. Place your hands on your hips and start to tilt your pelvis forward and back. Imagine the motion to tuck your tail and then un-tuck it. While you’re doing this press your front heel and back knee into the ground. Keep your upper body upright, it shouldn’t move much. After a few tucks and untucks, shift your hips back to straighten your front leg with the toes flexed, bring your hips low and hold for a 3-4 breaths. Then return to the lunge position, tuck the back toes and then begin to lift into a one-legged balanced position. Make it harder by not tucking the toes when you begin to lift off. Come up to stand and repeat on the other side. do 5-10 on each side.
Tabletop for Hips & Glutes – Mobility for Hips, Glutes & Hamstrings – You will need a yoga block, small ball or small weight to hold between the back of your calf and thigh, right in the crook of the back of your knee.
Start on all fours and place your weight/ball/block right behind the back of your right knee cap. Squeeze between the back of your calf and thigh to hold it into place. Lift your right knee off of the ground. Now, your weight will want to shift to the left, keep your weight equally balanced. Draw circles in both directions for about 1 minute each direction. Switch sides and repeat.
Hip Flexor Activators – Strength for hip flexors and mobility of the hips.
Sit with leg extended in front of you and the other knee bent all the way to the chest. Wrap your hands around the front knee and pull yourself up to sit up straight. Lift your extended leg up to hover and draw triangles with your heel. Keep your body upright and don’t lean back or round your spine. Go clockwise and then counter-clockwise. Do 30 seconds – 1 minute per side.
Activated Straddle – Strengthens and stretches low back, strengthens abs. You’ll possibly need your block/ball/weight for this one.
Start seated with your legs in a straddle position. If you feel like you can’t sit up straight, place a towel or block under your seat to help tilt the pelvis upright and slightly forward. Take your weight overhead and hold it between your palms (you can also do without a block or weight). You’re going to bend forward down the middle only until you can keep your weight in the same line as your head and your low back from rounding then lift back up. Do 10-15 reps down the middle and 10-15 reps toward each leg.