Daily Stretching Routine
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, through which we earn a commission.
Whenever I go to the chiropractor, I hear the same thing: “Woah, you’re tense!” Yes, I carry a ton of stress on my neck and shoulders. In 2011, the muscle stiffness got to the point that I began experiencing numbness in my hands, and pain in my jaw. At night while sleeping, my hands would fall asleep. I sought out a natural chiropractor who explained that the numbness was caused by the tightness in my neck, and that aside from stress, my blood sugar levels were also to blame. At the time, I had not yet discovered the AIP diet, and thus had such a difficult time keeping up with what I thought was an overactive metabolism. As it turns out, my body just really doesn’t respond well to simple carbs, like grains, juice and chocolate; and instead prefers fats and proteins, alongside vegetables and whole fruits. Formerly, when I ate a diet based heavily on grains and simple carbs, my blood sugar levels were on a constant roller coaster of highs and lows.
Changing my diet has definitely helped stabilize my blood sugar levels, and it’s made me a far less anxious person. But I continue to carry overly tight neck and shoulder muscles. For years, I regularly sought out chiropractic adjustments. And while I think the experience of an adjustment feels completely amazing, I finally came to the conclusion that it was not helping in the long run. However, I discovered something very basic that I can do, on my own at no expense, for far greater results: stretching!
In mid-2016 I found a stretching routine on the Nike Training Club app called Open Rotation. It has been my goal ever since then to complete this routine daily. Some days I just don’t get to it, so I average about 21 days per month of completed Open Rotation sessions. If you’re not familiar with the Nike Training Club, we’ve found this free app to be a tremendous workout tool, and we cannot emphasize enough how much we enjoy it! In addition to the stretching, lately we’ve been trying to get into the habit of completing a 15-minute strength training routine each day. Favorites include Basic Burner, Quick Core Crush (Ouch!), Quick-Hit Abs (also Ouch!), and Better Butt.
Since Open Rotation has been incorporated into my movement routine so deeply over the last two and a half years, I’ve made some adjustments, and tuned it perfectly to my preferences. These fifteen minutes are one of the greatest highlights of my day. I go into a quiet space, turn on relaxing music through Spotify, and inhale calming essential oils like lavender, chamomile or peppermint. I’m often joined by one of my cats. As creatures who set an amazing example of stretching constantly throughout the day, they absolutely love it when I join them on the floor for this dedicated time of gentle movement. Some days I’m incredibly tight and limited in my flexibility, while other days I’m so impressed by how far I can reach, and how great my lower back feels. But no matter how tight or loose I feel on a given day, this stretching routine is a peaceful and restorative experience. After 15-minutes, I feel so much better, both physically and emotionally.
Because I love my stretching routine so much, and because it has helped me so much, I want to share this routine with you. I’ve created a video that covers all the movements, so feel free to give it a try! However, I’m not a licensed fitness trainer, so use the video at your own risk. And if you’d like something more formal, head over to the Nike Training Club app to try the original Open Rotation. But whatever you do, I cannot recommend enough how great it is to incorporate daily stretching into your routine. Just be sure to take it gradually, be patient with yourself, don’t overdo it, consult a doctor first if necessary, and breathe!
Tell us! Do you have a favorite workout that you love to do on a regular basis?