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So long stiff back!

This holiday season give your body the gift of function. The simplest, easiest, most basic moves are usually the most important gift you can give your body. These exercises are simple stretches – preventative movements – that when done on a daily basis will keep you functioning at your best.

So what is functional fitness anyways? Functional fitness strives to work major muscle groups in their full range of motion to promote everyday ease of movement. Functional fitness gives you the ability to move at ease and perform everyday activities and tasks, pain free.

(Below is a functional fitness series that provides flexion, rotation and extension of the spine.) 

  1. One Knee Hug – Lying on your back, hug one knee into your chest and feel the stretch in your lower back.  The other leg can be bent at the knee or extended, but be sure to keep spine engaged to the ground.  Keeping core tight, breathe.  Switch legs after about 30 seconds.
  2. Both Knees Hug – Lying on your back, hug both knees into your chest and feel the stretch in your lower back.  As you breathe into the stretch, feel your spine lengthening with each breath.
  3. Hip Rolls– Lying on your back, put feet onto the floor keeping knees bent.  Put your arms out to the side in a T position, shoulder level, palms up.  Allow your legs (keeping knees together) to roll to the right while keeping left shoulder on the floor.  Breathe into the stretch, pull your abdominals in and bring your knees back to center and then repeat on the other side.
  4. Pelvic Lift – Lying on your back with knees bent, feet shoulder width apart, arms by your side; lift your hips into the air.  Keep weight centered in your whole foot and slowly roll yourself down.  Starting from your mid back, moving down to your lower back and then rear end – rolling vertebrae to vertebrae.  Make sure your knees do not open during the movement.
  5. Elbow Prop-Up– Lying on your belly, prop yourself up on your elbows with legs extended together behind you.  Visualize lifting your chest, pull in your abdominals and feel your spine naturally extend.  Drop your shoulders and breathe.  Hold for about 15 – 30 seconds.
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