Wake up, yawn, bend and stretch and shake it off!
Have you ever noticed that after a sleep your dog (or cat) likes to have a bend and stretch? (No wonder they call it downward dog!) It’s their way of getting their muscles ready for the day.
Being active creatures, dogs are always ready for action, they want to get up and get moving straight away. Not only does stretching wake up the muscles, it’s also a way to wake up the mind and give yourself time to prepare for the day.
The best part about stretching is that you can do it anywhere. You can do it at home, at the park, at the office or even while you’re still in your pyjamas lying in bed. (Yep, you heard us right!) Stretching isn’t just for flexible people, it’s for everyone, AND if you do it often enough YOU’LL one day be the flexible one!
It’s time to bend and stretch
Here’s 4 simple stretches that you can do in the first few minutes after you’ve woken up. Just think… if you do these while you’re still half asleep, they’ll be over and done with by the time the kettle has boiled for your morning cup of tea.
- Standing side stretch – stand with your feet together (or as close as you can get them, without falling over), stretch both arms up above your head and put your hands together. Lean over to one side and slowly count to 5, then repeat on the other side. Don’t forget to breathe!
- Forward bend and stretch – sit on the floor, with your legs stretched out in front of you. (it’s okay if you can’t get them straight). Reach your arms out in front of you towards your feet. Hold, and count to 10. Only go as far as you can, don’t push yourself.
- Cat – Get on your hands and knees. Make sure your hands are in line with your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips. Round your back and look towards the floor. Hold for 10. Lift your head as you then arch your back. Hold for 10.
- Downward dog – start with your hands and knees on the floor, with your toes tucked under. Keeping your hands in line with your shoulders, push your hips up and back and try to straighten your legs (keep them bent, if the stretch is too intense). Keep your arms straight and look towards your toes.
Make bend and stretch part of your daily routine.
Set your alarm 5mins early and aim to get your stretches done in that time. You might start to notice some immediate effects. Your mood might be better, your mind clearer and your motivation levels higher. You might even feel more energised and want to increase the time you spend exercising.
Benefit your body and mind
Your body AND mind benefit from getting up and moving. Those wobbly bits might not seem so wobbly anymore, that dress might fit a bit better, you might even start believing that positive affirmation up on your wall (“I am in charge of how I feel and today I am choosing happiness”).
Exercising isn’t just about making yourself look good, it’s about feeling good too, for the rest of your life! Don’t get bogged down telling yourself what you can’t do, just get out there and try. And don’t give up on yourself either. Set yourself a goal of doing some form of physical exercise for 30 minutes every day, for one month, by the time you’ve hit 30 days you’ll be able to call yourself an active person.
At first, your exercise routine could be made up of ‘incidental exercise’. (That’s the stuff you do that gets you moving before you even realise you’re actually exercising!) Walking laps of the shopping mall, meeting a friend for coffee and doing some sightseeing after, parking further away and walking the few extra minutes to work or having a dance while you’ve got the vacuum on and the music blaring. See, exercise isn’t so bad after all!
Once you’ve added movement into your daily life, you might find that you’ll want to add more! That’s when you can start thinking about ‘intentional exercise’, the planned workouts you’ll incorporate into your day.
Here’s some ideas to add to your SuperMove routine:
- Frisbee throwing
- Pilates or Yoga
- Group sport
If getting out and about is too much, you can also do a home session. You could try a beginners workout DVD or some dancing, do some lunges, squats, pushups or sit-ups. Don’t forget to warm up, cool down and bend and stretch before and after.
Make sure to check with your medical professional before you start moving more, and try some fun new activities, once you’ve been given the okay. For more motivation, check us out on Facebook.
What do you like to do each day? Tell us your favourite exercises. We’d love to hear some more sneaky tips on how to make exercise part of our daily routine!