As we are full into winter now I wanted to write a blog about making a space to stretch and building somewhat of a home gym for cheap. Stretching is definitely one of those things that’s easily overlooked when it comes to working out or even working all day at the desk. We tend to sit for hours and not move. Maybe it’s because it only takes a few minutes so we easily brush it off. Or maybe it’s because you don’t “see” the results of stretching that we don’t take it seriously enough.
Stretching keeps our muscles flexible, strong and healthy and we need all of that to maintain a range of motion in our joints. With regular stretching, it keeps your muscles long, lean and flexible. We want to try to maintain all of this as we age.
With that being said I have listed my favorite things to use to help me stretch and they are really cheap!
One thing I seem to not be able to live without is the foam roller. What does a foam roller do? Well, it’s basically like giving yourself a massage. It’s going to help break up the tissue and speed up the healing and recovery process. It helps with mobility, flexibility, better circulation, stress reduction and helps with soreness.
I use the foam roller to roll out my legs (glutes, piriformis, hamstrings, IT bands, calves, and quads) when I can tell that my legs are going to be sore the next day. I do also use it for my upper back when I have upper thoracic pain. If you only get one thing off this list…the foam roller would be my suggestion.
The next thing is the PVC pipe… I use this a lot for all upper back, shoulder mobility, and even my hamstrings! We do put a lot of pressure on the shoulders. Anytime we do pushups, planks or even pull-ups. The PVC pipe is a great way to open the shoulders up.
If you are someone that sits in front of the computer all day your shoulders are most likely tight from a result of not moving them for hours. Stretching them and your upper back will help with that upper back pain! If you don’t have a PVC pipe other things you can use are a band or even a broomstick.
Stretch Out Strap
The last thing I want to mention that I like to use is the stretch out strap. It’s a great way to get a deeper stretch for your hamstrings while also getting your IT bands which are hard to stretch on our own. Other stretches I like it to do are my quads, calves and hip flexors. I really like the stretch out strap because I can get in deeper into the stretch and feel supported while doing them. Other things can also be used like a belt or even a towel!
When it comes to stretching taking it slowly at first, especially if you very tight. Don’t force anything that becomes painful. These stretches can also be done at the gym or at home while you’re hanging out watching TV. Just by taking a few minutes each day you can improve your overall flexibility to help maintain mobility and range of motion.
If you have any questions about stretching always feel free to ask Dr. Cait or ask while you are in Active Care!