Morning Movement Routine

Here’s my easy morning movement routine to get the body moving first thing.

The following exercises generally help with mobility, circulation, and lymphatic drainage and work the major muscle groups. They can be also done in the evening before bed to help release tension.

You don’t have to do all seven, you select the right exercises for you or ask your doctor or exercise health professional.

Watch the instructional video before starting the Super Seven Exercises!

1. Marching on the Spot:
Start low impact, gently marching on the spot. It’s up to you how long and fast you march and how high you raise your feet. This can also be done between each exercise to keep moving.
2. Breathe and Shake:
Stand with feet approximately hip width apart and knees slightly bent. Deep breath in and stretch your hands and arms up to the sky.As you exhale, shake out your hands above your head and then continue shaking them all the way down to your sides. Let your neck, shoulders,  and hips and knees gently move and shake and move as they want. Do at least three times. Wonderful for your circulation and lymphatic system.
3. Side Steps:
Start with small steps first to one side, then the other. As you warm up and get more fit you can make those steps bigger. When stronger and used to this activity, you may decide to bend your knees as you step out to the sides and use your arms.
4. Arm Swing:
Start with feet shoulder width apart, shoulders relaxed and arms loosely by your side. Tighten your core or stomach muscles. Slowly turn to one side and let your arms flop and follow, then slowly turn to the other side. Gradually increase your speed of turning from side to side, letting the arms move and stay loose.
5. Shoulder Rotations and Side Neck Turns:
Stand with feet apart. Stretch and lengthen through the spine (pull up through the back or crown of the head). Lift your shoulders gently up and then rotate backwards and bring shoulders down. Repeat and rotate backward up to ten times, then relax.

Relax, release and lower your shoulders, your head facing to the front. Slowly turn your head to one side towards the shoulder to your comfort level. Hold for three to ten seconds, and then slowly come back to centre. Repeat sequence with the other side.  Ideally do this sequence at least three times.
6. Air punches:
Standing balanced with feet apart, hands held up and closed into fists, punch upwards into the air above your head with one arm. Bring back to centre and then alternate with the other arm. You can also lower the arms and air punch directly to the front. May also help to relieve stress and over time extend the range of movement in the shoulders. 
7. Air Squats or Chair Sit:
Stand with your feet hip width apart, toes pointing slightly outward and tighten your stomach or core muscles. With a comfortably straight back and upright torso, your weight balanced on your heels, bend at the hips pushing your buttocks backwards and bending the knees like you are about to sit down. Lower to a comfortable and safe level for you, keeping your hips above knee level. Your knees over but not beyond your toes.

Return slowly to your starting position.If this is a new exercise for you, don’t go too deep too soon. Place a chair behind you and sit or squat down onto it. Aim to sit down and get up without using your arms, just the strength in your legs, hips and knees. Do squats slowly to your comfort level and build up the number gradually. If there is any discomfort, stop and seek professional guidance.
                           
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I would love to know how you go with the Morning Movement Routine. Let me know how it makes you feel!

Why We Need To Be Moving Regularly

We have all heard the saying, “move it or lose it” and it could not be more true!

Movement is a vital part of our overall health and wellness. As humans we are part of the animal kingdom and are made to move – in all directions, every day.

We were not designed to sit all day at a computer desk, be in a car driving around for hours or working a 12-hour shift in a mining truck etc. We are biped with long legs and arms for a reason – we are made to walk, run, jog, dance, stretch, climb and reach.

Our anatomy and physiology is such that if we don’t constantly move, our muscles and joints do physically become stiff and our fascia (connective tissue or membranes that surround line and separate our muscles, stabilises our bodies etc.) will actually start to fuse together and then limit our mobility.

Do you struggle with movement?

Seeing a structural therapist to correct your posture and body alignment should make movement, stretching and exercise easier for you.

If pain has kept you sedentary, then any movement is valuable. Even if you are chair bound there will still be parts of your body you can move. If you can’t move yourself, get someone to assist you.

Moving and stretching usually feels good, sometimes initially there is a little discomfort but never stretch into pain. Treat yourself with love and respect and most importantly don’t give up, your goal is to keep moving.

The benefits of movement

  • improves your cardiac health, gets your heart pumping and improves circulation
  • improves your breathing and lung function
  • strengthens your muscles and joints and helps with balance and preventing falls
  • improves flexibility, movement and will enable you to do everyday tasks more easily
  • helps maintain bone density
  • increased blood and lymphatic flow helps improve skin elasticity and healing
  • helps you feel better, relieves stress and you will feel a sense of accomplishment
  • you will look and feel younger with increased energy and stamina

It’s also important to protect yourself if you are getting help with your stretches and exercises – do not allow anyone to test or push you into pain. Numerous clients have come to clinic because they have over-stretched, hurt themselves in a too vigorous exercise routine or their pain has been inflamed in the process of being tested and diagnosed. You need to be honest with your health professionals and let them know when something is increasing your pain.

So the truth is that a movement program takes effort and commitment, however the benefits are immeasurable and the alternative is very scary. Getting started may not be easy but you just have to do it if you want to relieve your pain long term.

What do you do for movement? Do you need to be doing more?

If you need help to get your body moving better, please get in touch and book a Bowen Therapy session!

Tips for getting back to exercise


“The alternative to daily exercise, stretching or movement is deterioration, aging, loss of muscle tone and circulation, eventually atrophy and the death of healthy tissue – seriously you need to move!”

As humans we are part of the animal kingdom and are made to move – in all directions, every day.

We were not designed to sit all day at a computer desk, be in a car driving around for hours or working a 12-hour shift in a mining truck etc. We are biped with long legs and arms for a reason – we are made to walk, run, jog, dance, stretch, climb and reach.

Our anatomy and physiology is such that if we don’t constantly move, our muscles and joints do physically become stiff and our fascia (connective tissue or membranes that surround line and separate our muscles, stabilises our bodies etc.) will actually start to fuse together and then limit our mobility.

If you have not exercised for some time due to pain, illness or injury, take it slowly and consult your medical professionals. Here are my tips to consider before you start any movement program:

  • Move with intention – don’t be in a rush. First stop and think what you want to achieve. Secondly visualise it clearly in your mind, mentally feel yourself doing it successfully and then finally make your move. Be deliberate and thoughtful in your actions and you greatly increase success. You also will decrease your chance of accident or injury.

  • Do any new activity slowly. If you been in pain for a while, chances are you’ve lost some muscle tone and flexibility due to inactivity. Suddenly calling those weakened muscles and joints into fast action is not in your best interest. Start slowly!

  • Protect your lower back. Statistically the majority of people experience their pain in the lower back, hips and legs. One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself is to tighten your stomach muscles, engage your core, before and whenever you put your back under strain, particularly if you are overweight or have a large stomach. For example, when getting in and out of chairs or your car, lifting groceries out of the car boot etc, pull in and tighten those stomach muscles before and during the activity. This will help support the lower back and reduce the potential for injury.

  • Start in small ways – with your everyday activities. Go for a short walk first thing in the morning or in the evening rather than watching TV. Take the dog for a walk (or your partner, children or grandchildren). Take every opportunity to move rather than staying in bed or in that chair! That old saying is true, ‘move it or lose it!’ Start with small, realistic goals and work your way up gradually.

  • Get out of the house! A change of location can increase your energy levels, allow interaction with people, create a diversion and take the focus off your pain. A walk in the garden, along the river or at the beach can give you fresh air to breathe and help improve morale. If you are alone, head to your nearest shopping centre or park and make some new friends.

  • Adopt a positive ‘YES’ attitude. Whenever you get invited anywhere, automatically say yes! Even if you don’t feel like it, the majority of times when you make the effort and get there, you will be glad you did and your body will appreciate the variety of activity and movement.

  • Get out of your pyjamas! When you are not feeling well, you’re tired and you could just stay in bed all day, please don’t! It’s so easy to get stuck in that rut and then the days drag into weeks and months and you just get weaker and weaker. If the least you do in a day is to drag yourself out of bed, clean your teeth, get dressed and brush your hair – you’ve done well. Give yourself a simple daily “must do” routine and commit to looking after yourself!

So the truth is that a movement program takes effort and commitment, however the benefits are immeasurable and the alternative is very scary. Getting started may not be easy but you just have to do it if you want to relieve your pain long term.