In this trying time of having to quarantine and staying indoors, it can become a little unnerving at times. Most of us are not only aching physically from inactivity, but our minds can feel entrapped too. Lack of social interaction and not being able to see your friends and family can take a toll on us and lead to an increase in stress, anxiety or depression. It’s important to keep a healthy mind as well as a healthy body. A few things that can help us while we’re socially distancing is to dedicate some time to our mind’s wellbeing.
Meditation and Yoga
MEDITATION is excellent to keep calm and reduce stress in our lives. A lot of us are emotionally strong and are able to handle our stress very well but even in the strongest people, stress can start taking a toll on our bodies. Our bodies often know and react before our mind does. Meditation helps us reboot and take time for self-assessment and evaluation that may lead to self-enhancement.
Another way to incorporate meditation with exercise is YOGA. Yoga not only helps increase flexibility, core strength, and muscle stabilisation but also helps reduce depression, anxiety, and stress by calming the mind and improving your mind-body awareness. A lot of our day-to-day patients that work in offices complain of persistent back pain. Now with working from home, possibly without a proper work station, this problem may worsen. The yoga stretches discussed below will help loosen up your hip and back muscles. For those who are feeling stressed with all the corona virus news and changes in our lives, take some time to unplug and play some light music while you do these stretches. Doing them just before going to bed will also help you fall asleep.
It’s important to remember to do a long sustained stretch. And each stretch does not need to be to the point of pain. As soon as you feel a stretch, just hold it there for 30 seconds. As you do these stretches every day, your range will improve. Don’t forget to keep breathing. I would also urge everyone to not google exercises or refer to any YouTube videos unless they are recommended by your health care professional. Not everything applies to everybody. While doing these stretches, you will find your happy medium. You may not be able to do all of them and that’s okay. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us or call us at the clinic. We are regularly monitoring our emails and phone calls.
CAT/DOG STRETCH: Also called the cat/cow stretch. On all 4’s with your spine in neutral, breathe in, allowing your spine to sag towards the floor, looking up with your neck, and lengthening the pelvic floor and rectus abdominis. As you breathe out, slowly round your spine towards the ceiling, and tucking your head in towards your tailbone. Repeat 5x
THORACIC ROTATION: On all 4’s, cross your feet; take one hand off of the ground, bending the opposite elbow to 90˚, reach underneath your body towards your opposite ankle (your head will be on the ground, looking underneath your body); hold for 30 seconds and alternate sides.
SLOPPY PUSHUPS: Put your hands on the floor at shoulder height and do a sloppy pushup, keeping your hips on the floor; lengthen through the arms, taking a big breath in, locking your elbows and breathing out as your stomach sags towards the ground. Putting a pillow under your hips can make it a little easier on your back. Repeat 2x
SINGLE KNEE TO CHEST/DOUBLE KNEE TO CHEST: Lying on your back, grab one knee with the other led straight. Hold for 30 seconds then, repeat on the other side. Now grab both knees and bring them both into your chest and hold for 30 seconds.
HAMSTRING STRETCH: Using a strap or a scarf if you need one, straighten one leg strongly, and keeping the knee straight with the strap around the foot, raise your leg with your foot up towards the ceiling, toes pointing down; straighten both legs but don’t lock them. Hold for thirty seconds; then holding the strap in the same hand, lower your leg out to the side, keeping your back body on the floor, and the other arm stretched out to the side; hold for 30 seconds; repeat on the other side.
LUMBAR ROTATION: Lying on your back, bend both knees and hips to 90˚, placing both arms out at your side, drop both knees towards one side. Straighten your spine as you breathe in, and then rotate a little further as you breathe out. Turn your head in the opposite direction to your knees. Hold for 30 seconds; repeat on the other side.
ITB STRETCH: Lying on your side with both knees bent to 90 degrees; clasp the top ankle with the top hand; pull the top leg back as to extend the hip. Place the bottom heel on top of the top leg, at or slightly above the knee; continue to pull the leg back with the arm, pushing it back and down with the heel; hold for 30 seconds; repeat on the other side.
OBURATOR INTERNUS STRETCH: Lying on your back, straighten one leg, while bringing the other knee into your chest. Hold onto the outside of that knee and the inside aspect of that foot with the other hand; Draw your upward knee out as you draw your foot up and in; hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
CROSS-LEGGED STRETCH: Sit with your legs crossed, with one foot in front of the other; place your opposite hand (to the forward leg) on the ground beside your trunk and side bend to that direction; hold for 30 seconds; now sit back up to midline, and arching your back slightly, bend from the hips, resting both arms forward on the ground in front of you; hold for 30 seconds; Change the other leg to the front position in cross-legged sitting and repeat side bending and forward bending for 30 seconds each.
DOWNWARD DOG/PIGEON STRETCH/LUNGE STRETCH: On all 4’s, stretch your buttock up towards the ceiling, slowly straightening your legs if you can; Keep your heels on the ground, and lengthen the waist, as you reach your sitz bones up to the ceiling; hold for 30 seconds; now bring one foot forward (towards your opposite shoulder), sit down keeping your arms in front, so that you stretch the outside of the downside leg, and the front of the backward leg; hold for 30 seconds. As you start to lean towards the foot of the downward leg, now bring both knees back under you, and bring your back leg forward so that your foot is on the ground; slide your back knee straight so that you are in a lunge position; stretch the front of the back hip, raising the same arm up and over your head; hold for 30 seconds and repeat the entire sequence (all three exercises) on the other side.
CHILD’S POSE: Sitting on your knees, toes and knees together, bring your hands onto the tops of your thighs, holding them down, as you fold your body forward into child’s pose. Stretch your arms in front of you, with your hands in prayer position, with your edges of your pinkie fingers on the ground; rest your forehead on the ground; hold for 30 seconds.