Holiday Fitness…or for any time of year

Short on space, time, and equipment? No worries. You can still keep yourself grounded and moving well with these few exercises. The holidays, can be jam packed with activities and obligations, so all of these exercises can be done just about anywhere and the best part, no equipment is necessary.  So even if you’re traveling, you’re only just a few minutes away from inner bliss and outer calm.

Breath and Awareness…the antidote for those awkward holiday moments….
In times of stress, one of the first things that we disconnect from is our breath. Taking a moment out for yourself to reconnect is an easy way to calm your mind and de-stress without even having to stop what your doing. Just bring your focus inward and for a few minutes try to slow down your breathing. Imagine your torso being as flexible as a balloon and allow for your rib cage to expand three dimensionally as you inhale.  As you exhale, sigh out the breath through your nose and out of your body allowing for the muscles around your rib cage to slightly hug in. Repeat this for few minutes trying to slow your breathing pattern down and draw your awareness inward.

Often people have used activities that entail repetitive movements to get a moment to breathe, reflect, or even reach a meditative state. (Think chanting, knitting, walking, churning butter)  So volunteering to do the dishes may be a great opportunity to let yourself take a little internal break and go to your happy place.

So the weather outside is frightful, and at times, life not so delightful….
Sitting for a long time or dealing with cold weather can be the culprit for many aches and pains throughout the body but especial through the hips, back, and shoulders.  Keeping those areas moving and limber may bypass the holiday aches and pains that come from stress, sleeping in a strange bed and the “joys” of traveling. Here are three exercises to do to keep yourself moving and grooving through the holidays.

Back
Wall roll downs help you stretch out your back and engage your stomach in support of your back movement. Start with your back against the wall and your feet a few inches away from the wall. Your knees should be bent slightly and while the legs are engaged, you shouldn’t feel any strain in the toes, knees, or hips. Starting from the top of your head, curve your spine towards the floor taking care to feel each part of your back have a moment where your belly helps press it into the wall before letting if peel away from the wall. Continue this all the way down to bending over the waistband of your pants and then slowly roll back up against the wall with the same emphasis on making contact with every part of your back with the wall. Repeat about 2 or 3 times.

Shoulders and Neck
Find a doorframe near a non high traffic area and grab a hold of it with your right hand. Walk yourself away so that your hand is hooked around the frame and you feel your arm and shoulder being pulled away from your torso. To deepen the stretch and feel more length through the side of your neck, drop your head to the left, bringing your left ear towards your left shoulder. Stay here for about 30 seconds and switch to the other side.

Hips and Lower Back
Sitting down on a chair where both feet can easily plant down on the floor, cross your right shin across your left knee, creating a figure four shape with your legs. Make sure to pull the right toes towards the right knee and keep the foot and ankle active. Keep both sitting bones against the bottom of the chair and lean forward from the hips. Stay here for at least five breaths and then switch sides.