As soon as the holiday season comes to a close, we transition from embracing many slices of pumpkin pie to changing our eating habits, drinking rules, exercising routine — and in some cases — our daily lifestyle. Following turkey dinner and extra dessert, January first symbolizes a fresh start. Whether personally or professionally, it’s a time to re-set, re-charge and reflect. For those who aren’t into hitting the gym and watching the scale, there are other (simple) ways to improve your body.
Whether rehabilitating an injury or experiencing the effects of aging, daily stretching is an effective way to reduce stress, improve posture and treat joint pain — especially during the drop in temperature. From increased flexibility + physicality to improved mindfulness + meditation, the activity provides a long list of benefits. While it might be difficult to swap sleeping for stretching, set your alarm a few minutes early to start your day with a cup of coffee and a couple of static stretching vs. dynamic stretching exercises. Static stretching is slower stretching, feeling a deep long stretch. Dynamic stretching is full range of movement at a faster pace. Feel free to move your muscles first thing or post-breakfast and shower once your body is relaxed and loose.
A fan favorite: hip-opening poses to increase range of motion and reduce stiffness. Since the lower back and hips are body parts that are particularly prone to holding tension and tightness due to stress, try a variety of lunges and yoga-based poses to start your day strong. For a full stretch, change it up to target your hip flexors, inner thighs and outer thighs. Quick tip: as stretching becomes a regular practice, try to hold the position longer and move from low-level to high-level exercises.
For those starting out and looking for an all-purpose, budget-friendly exercise mat, check out the BalanceFrom GoYoga. Available on Amazon, this product has a high-density construction to cushion your joints and comes with a carrying strap. Best of all, it’s only thirteen bucks.