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Staying Active During the Holidays

Staying Active During the Holidays

The holiday season is a favorite time of the year for many, but it can also bring lots of stress to our mind and bodies.  Beat the holiday stress and try these exercises to stay connected to your body, stay strong and injury free!

Upper trapezius stretch: 

Stress and tension has a natural way of making its way up to our neck and upper back.  The upper trapezius and levator scapula muscle are key muscles that are sources of pain, interfering with prolonged sitting and other daily activities, and in some cases, cause headaches.  Here is a simple stretch that will help alleviate some of that stress and tension.  

  1. Begin but placing one hand under your thigh.  
  2. Side bend your neck away from the hand under thigh.  Allow your ear to melt down toward your shoulder.  
  3. Place your opposite hand on your head and gently apply overpressure until you feel a comfortable stretch.  
  4. Maintain the side bend and overpressure and slowly flex your neck forward, looking toward your hand under your thigh.  
  5. Hold stretch for at least 30 seconds on both sides.  

Wall angel slide/ Lower trapezius strengthening 

Fix your poor slouchy posture and practice angel slides!  The lower trapezius muscle plays an important role in positioning the scapula to perform overhead activities and maintaining upright posture.

  1. Sit against a wall with your head, shoulders, and lower back maintaining contact with the wall.  Don’t forget the chin tuck!
  2. Raise arms to 90 degrees with elbows bent.  Bring elbows forward slightly off the wall.  
  3. Slide your arms up and down the wall slowly until hands meet at the top. Tuck in ribs so low back does not arch.
  4. Repeat 10x with control!

Heel Raises/ Toe walk

Having some difficulty putting an ornament at the top of the Christmas tree?  Wearing heels to your holiday party?  Strengthen your gastrocnemius (calf muscles)!  You do this every day without even thinking about it, so why not add it to your workout routine?  Strengthening your gastrocs improve ankle stability and balance which is essential for everyday activities.  

  1. While standing, lift heels off the floor, slowly lower down.  Repeat 10x with control!
  2. Challenge:  Lift heels and walk on the balls of your foot/toes.  Slowly with control

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