Coach Sheryle here. I am bringing you the first in an continuing series on functional movement patterns, designed to keep your body strong and healthy for whatever your life holds. Whether it be mowing the lawn, a sweet weekend hike, or chasing the kids or grandkids around, a functional body will make it more enjoyable.
If you have read my previous blog post, you are well versed in the evils of sitting for multiple hours during the day. If not, get back there and read it. Then apply these movements to your daily sitting routine to break up the sitting addiction we all seem to have acquired.
The whole thing takes about 3 minutes. I designed it with straight leg movements, so those of you with knee issues can participate as well. Ideally, you will practice this every 1/2 hour you are seated. If that doesn’t work try every hour.
Some is better than none when it comes to movement-Sheryle Sage
As always, with any movement, if this causes pain in your joint, stop immediately. If you feel some heat in the muscle, that’s good. It means there is a greater blood flow to the area. That is what we are trying to create.
This pattern is similar to one I use at the very beginning of my run warm ups. It is very gentle, based on controlled leg swings and, if I do say so myself, enjoyable.
Here’s the pattern, and below I will have pics of the movements:
- knee lift x 10 each leg
- leg swing front and back (using muscle control both forward and back) x 5
- rear leg 3 pulse x 5
- leg swing x 5
- rear leg 3 pulse (with toes turned slightly away from the body) x 5
- leg swing x 5
- lunge stance hip flexor stretch
- Switch sides and repeat the whole sequence
Basically we have an alternating knee life to start some blood flow to the area, swings to loosen the leg, pulses to provide more blood flow to the low back and glute area, via the squeezing action of the muscles, then finishing a lunge stretch to open up the hip flexor muscle which usually becomes overly tight from being held in a seated position.
My practice model, photographer, editor-in-chief, and partner in crime, and hubby, Bruce said it felt a bit intense doing one leg at a time. If this is the case, alternate legs back and forth through the movements. Shorten the reps to 3 and work into 5. It doesn’t matter the sequence, it matters that you move that behind!Begin with a good stance. Military style posture. Hip over ankle/shoulder over hip/ear in line with the shoulder. Tummy sucked in a bit to provide muscle support for your low back area. Shoulders back and down. Chin slightly lifted. Don’t hold your breath. Don’t let your ego take over. Swing and pulse only within your natural range of motion. Take good care not to arch your back in the rear movements. The movement originates from the hip joint, not the back. Slow and controlled movements please. If balance is an issue, by all means hang on to a stable chair, post, or wall. We are not concerned with balance in this 3 minutes. It’s all about the blood flow. 1) Alternating knee lift. Kind of like a slow high march. Keep your back straight and core engaged. (10 x’s each leg)
2) Leg swing forward and back. Same stance. With control lift the leg to the front, and with the same control, without arching your back, lift leg to the rear. Then do it 4 more times. 3) Hold the leg in the rear position, pulse it 3 times, squeezing the glutes, engaging the core, and release. Repeat 4 more times
4) Swing the leg again. 5 times5) Repeat the pulses, but this time with your toe turned slightly away from your body (this engages the glute a bit deeper, if it feels like too much, use the original pulse)
6 & 7 ) Swing again 5 times, but the last one let your toe fall to the ground behind you, heel remains up, tuck your pelvis a bit, bend both knees, lowering just until you feel a light stretch in the front of your thigh (rear leg) where it meets your hip bone. Hold the stretch for around 10-15 seconds
That’s it folks. It may take you a couple minutes longer than 3 the first few times. Then it will begin to imprint not only in your brain, but your muscles too. Every muscle cell has a memory component contained in it. Soon it will become second nature to both your brain and body to perform these simple, yet effective movements.
In addition to the wonderful blood flow benefits (blood flow is very healing), you may also notice a toning and strengthening of the glutes and low back. Now that’s a great side effect!
I would like to thank my photographer, Bruce Sage, and the Hillsborough State Park (The Real Florida) in Thonotosassa FL for hosting our shoot. Check it out if you are ever in the area. The park is simply amazing.
And, thank you readers 🙂