If I had to pick one consistent characteristic that I’ve carried with me from childhood, through my teenage years, and into adulthood, it would be that I’m about as bendy as a thick metal pole.
I have very horrible memories of trying to play Twister at birthday parties and thinking I was going to snap. I have similarly bad memories of elementary school gym class and having to place a ruler at the tips of our shoes to see how far we could reach beyond our toes. I couldn’t even straighten my legs, let alone touch my toes! Even in highschool, the memory of me and my friends sitting with our backs against the lockers and our legs extended before us, makes me shiver.
It hurt! It was uncomfortable! It left my legs aching!
Despite the doctor telling me I apparently have short hamstrings, I was unfortunately never disciplined enough to stretch…until now.
That’s right: with all this extra time on my hands and with a more flexible schedule, I’ve decided to finally work on becoming more flexible myself.
I downloaded an app called Stretching Exercises and every morning, at 7:28am, I get a reminder to stretch. By 7:30am, I’m in my basement, on my yoga mat, and listening to the robotic lady voice on the app count me down while calming music plays in the background. Occasionally, she’ll provide some tips on proper technique or give some encouragement.
Here’s my morning stretching routine:
0:30 – Bridge: Lie flat on my back and lift my hips off the floor while keeping my back straight. To make it a bit harder, I usually lift one leg in the air.
0:30 – Reverse Crunches: Lie on my back, feet off the floor, with my knees up at a 90 degree angle and my hands behind my head. Try to bring my upper body and knees together (Pretty sure I’m not doing this right).
0:30 – Abdominal Crunches: Lie on my back, feet on the floor, with my knees bent and my arms stretched forward. Try to lift my upper body off the floor. (key word: try)
0:30 – Butt Bridge: Lie on my back with my knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and arms flat at my side. Lift my butt up and down.
0:50 – Bird Dog: On my hands and knees. Stretch out my right leg and left arm at the same time, holding the position for 5 seconds.
0:40 – Plank: Lie on the floor with my toes and forearms on the ground, keeping my body straight.
0:45 – Cobra Stretch: Lie on my stomach, bend my elbows with my hands beneath my shoulders
0:40 – Supine Hamstring Stretch Right/Left: Lie on my back with my legs straight and my hands by my side. Lift one leg up towards the ceiling, holding the back of that thigh with my hands.
0:40 – Sitting Hamstring Stretch Right/Left: Sit with my legs extended in front of me. Bend the leg I’m not stretching so that my foot is touching my thigh.
That’s it! It only takes me around five minutes and then I’m fired up and ready to take on the day! It’s not exactly the most strenuous routine but I’ve noticed a big difference in my bendiness in a relatively short space of time. I’m sure that pretty soon, I’ll be a human pretzel.
If you have any advice, tips, or suggestions, please share. (I need all the help I can get!)