Hey mind-body students!
Before jumping into your spring sports seasons (literally), you should begin a stretching routine to prepare your body for the hustle. In the first few weeks of 2017, we showed you some stretches and strengthening exercises to help you prepare. Now, we're giving you a more in-depth stretching routine to cover your whole body and loosen your muscles up even more.
Pre-Season Stretching Routine for 2017
Begin with the body's core and the spine by doing the Stretch and Release the Bows motion. This is a dynamic stretch, which is even better for your flexibility and stability. It also warms up your body and prepares you for further stretching.
Next we'll move onto the legs with Tiger Stance from Side to Side. This movement stretches the groin, hips, and the muscles of the legs and feet, getting blood moving and putting some good stress on your lungs. You'll need to develop your lung capacity a little bit before you can get into the sports season.
Next we'll focus on stretching the feet and calves, because those two small pieces of your body are perhaps the most important in all of sports. If your feet aren't working right, you just can't play. And even if your feet don't hurt, weak ankles and instability in the tendons and muscles of the feet can lead to serious joint injuries in not only the feet, but the knees, hips, and even spine and neck. Stretch those feet!
Moving up the body, let's stretch the hips both on the floor, and standing against the wall. Correctly aligned hips with good flexibility prevent many lower back injuries, and improve physical performance more than almost any other body area. The hips are where you direct your explosive speed and power.
Next, we'll do the Rainbow Stretch for the spine. (You can just stay right against the wall from the last hip stretch.) While you are doing this stretch, breath into the side areas of your lungs that open up. That way, you'll be able to develop spine flexibility and rib flexibility at the same time that you gain lung strength.
Lastly, we'll do a quick stretch for the neck called Eagle Drinks the Water. The neck doesn't usually get hurt during regular sports activity. Mostly, neck injuries are due to accidents instead of tight muscles. However, a hurt neck can put an athlete our for an entire season. Protect your performance by keeping the neck stable and flexible.
That's it for this week. Happy Stretching!