Recently I had one of those very early morning starts to my day and wouldn't you know it I woke to a strong pain between my shoulder blades that I knew would be a problem if I didn't treat it right away.
On this particular day I had a 2 1/2 hour drive to my destination, then 5 hours of sitting in a meeting, then a return drive home. So what this meant is that I had to wake at 4:00 a.m. and If you're anything like me instead of getting a good nights sleep for this long day, I tossed and turned all night because I was afraid I wouldn't wake up in time! I'm pretty sure this was the culprit of my pain that morning.
Granted over the years my body has absorbed a bit of punishment, from major back surgery to my fill of nasty falls from my early days of off road mountain biking, my body is reminding me that I'm just not as young as I used to be and it doesn't take as much for those aches and pains to make their appearance.
A quick fix to my recent morning was a few yoga moves.
Eagle Pose: whether you do this sitting down or standing up this is a great exercise to open up the shoulders and feels really good, especially when, like me that day, I woke to a piercing pain in that area. I try to hold this pose for 1-3 minutes. Make sure you do both sides.
Supported Fish Pose: this is great for the spine. To support your back use a block, ball or pillow. Again I try to hold this pose for 1-3 minutes and it's actually very relaxing.
When I have more time and want to get an all over massage or want to loosen my muscles before or after exercise, especially after completing a few challenge poses, I pull out my foam roller.
More specific uses of my foam roller:
Whether I feel tightness right after I workout or it creeps up the following day, the massage foam roller has been a great addition to my routine to loosen specific tight areas and it's a way to give myself an inexpensive massage to head into a good nights sleep.
While there are numerous options for selecting a foam roller and at various price points, I urge you to consider what you want to gain from using one and do your research and purchase (if you choose to do so) the best one for you needs.
As with any purchase of health/workout equipment or engaging in a new exercise routine it's always best to check with your physician especially if you have certain conditions that may be adversely affected by a new routine.
Do you sit or stand in one place for hours with little movement?
Whether you sit at a desk working at the computer for hours or are you a gardner kneeling or sitting on your knees, body hunched over while tending your vegetable or flower garden? The aches, strains and sometimes pain can result from doing even things you love.
Heart / Chest Opener is a great yoga pose that is easily done that will give you a feel good stretch. It opens your heart and stretches your back, something necessary after those longs hours in one place.
Stand with your feet hip width apart, feet planted firmly on the floor. Keeping your shoulders square, shoulder blades back, reach your hands behind your back keeping arms straight & clasping your hands together at the base of your back. Slowly, and only as comfortably as you feel, raise your clasped hands as high as you can behind you while you are pulling your shoulder blades together.
Feel the stretch, inhale and exhale as you feel the breathe enter and leave your body. Maintain the pose for 2-3 breathe cycles**.
Choose a firm chair* and sit squarely with your feet firmly planted on the floor, slightly farther than hip width apart. Press down with both feet and sitting bones as you lift your heart (chest) to the sky while keeping your head balanced on top of your pelvis ( think keeping strong posture with head in alignment with pelvis). Take both hands and grab the outside edge of each side of the back of your chair to help lift your chest and feel the stretch.
Inhale and exhale as you feel the breathe enter and leave your body. Maintain the pose for 2-3 breathe cycles**.
*Chair = I like to use a simple sturdy metal chair without arms, but whatever type chair that you choose make sure it doesn't have wheels and sits sturdy on the floor)
**Breath cycle= one inhale and exhale, making sure you're inhaling slow and deeply and the same with your exhale.