Anupa is an executive fitness consultant and a certified aerobic instructor from Reebok University. Anupa, a martial arts practitioner, pioneered the concept of 'Sthriraksh' — self-defence for women and 'Stretch' - Wellness for Women packages. She customises fitness solutions for executives, women entrepreneurs and children. Post your health-related queries to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
After all that gyan session for the last two weeks, this week, let’s look at basic stretching exercises that will help us regain our flexibility. It is a known fact that women are more flexible compared to men and most of their childhood flexibility and agility is not lost easily. We should have understood our body state now from the scan we have practised over the week that just went by.
Get out of bed and look at yourself in a mirror. This is not to look at our flaws but to reassure ourselves that we are all set to take control of ourselves.
Begin with lifting your hands above your head and holding them together. With your feet a little apart, in line with your shoulders, rise up on your toes stretching your hands simultaneously so that you feel the pull in shoulder, arms and forearms. Remain like this for a full minute. Slowly relax this position and come back to normal. Repeat the procedure twice after a break of fifteen seconds. Your body is getting prepared for a small stretch routine.
After 3 repetitions and a 15-second break, move to the same position again of your hands stretched above your head but do not come up on your toes, this time slowly bend to each side for 30 seconds each. Don’t over do this, it is not an exercise to reduce your sides but it is just to stretch the muscles on the side of your body. This can also be done as 3 sets.
Now do some walking at a medium pace for a minute. You can use this time to get things ready for your cooking or set the table for break fast or put all your kid’s toys in their place.
After this quick walk, now stand in a one place with your legs slightly apart and bend forward to touch your toes. Don’t push yourself too hard. If you are able to achieve this easily, hug yourself tight such that your forehead rests on your knees. Hold this for 30 seconds initially and increase it to 60 seconds once you get comfortable. If your hamstring muscle (i.e. the back of your thighs) strains a lot, go slow on the same.
Squat down on the floor, getup and repeat the same about 10 times. When you are sitting on the floor, fold your legs fully, stay for 10 seconds and getup. Try getting up without support over a period of time. This is very essential to strengthen pelvic muscles.
Now, take another walk and break for a minute. Take slow and deep breaths while doing so.
After all this, if you still have the energy, just jump up as high as you can and land on your toes softly. Do this for a minimum of 15 seconds to a maximum of 120 seconds at a stretch depending on your comfort and how much you are enjoying it.
These 10 to 12 minutes of pep stretches will give you a foundation for any other exercise routines that you would like to indulge into over a period of time. Starting off with such simple exercises will give a good and refreshing feeling for the day and it can also be repeated as often as possible during any other time of the day.
Go ahead and see how you bounce back to flexibility. Next week let’s focus on our caring our back section and know more strengthening it.