Day in the life: Stretches

One drawback to the CPAP is that if I move around a lot, it tends to slip off.  Not moving much during sleep means I wake up feeling a bit stiff.  (I also have some arthritis in my knees, but it’s usually not the knees that are stiff, it’s everything else…..)

So, I usually do 10 minutes or so of stretches I learned in my yoga class.  Why do I do this?

  • It feels fantastic.  Seriously.
  • It wakes me up (major muscle movement) in a rather nice way.
  • My legs work hard to carry me around all day.  This makes them happy.  They deserve to be happy.  :)
  • It helps me maintain enough flexibility that digging the Roomba out from under the couch or pulling weeds in the garden is not difficult.

There are things that are uncomfortable because my belly bulk gets in my way, like tying my shoe while standing with a foot on a step.  Flexibility lets me retain other options, like just bending over and tying my shoes, or sitting down and putting my foot on my knee.

Otoh, when my parents were my age, my father couldn’t just bend over and tie/untie his shoes.  So he had the opposite problem – he was thin, but less flexible. 

What sort of stretches do I do?  (Bear with me – the pictures of the leg stretches didn’t turn out.  I could re-take them this weekend if I get requests ;)

  1. Raise one leg straight up, perpendicular to the bed. Let’s say we’re starting with the left leg, so I can give the rest of the directions based on that :)  When I first started yoga class I had to support my leg with my hands or with a yoga strap – now I don’t.
  2. Rotate the left foot around in circles clockwise, 10 times, then the other way 10 times.
  3. If I feel I could stretch the hamstrings a bit more, I then grab the upraised foot with my left hand to get a better hamstring stretch (left foot with left hand, right foot with right hand).
  4. Next I relax my left outer hip muscles and let the leg lean toward the left.  My yoga instructor’s toe hits the floor when she does this in class.  Mine doesn’t.  That’s okay.
  5. Keeping my left leg straight, I move the left foot all the way across my body in an arc, so now the left leg is stretched across my body and my left foot is on the right side of my body.
  6. My addition: quadriceps stretch.  I lay on my side with pillows behind me, lift my left foot up against the pillows, then reach back to grab my left foot with my left hand.  If I’m too stiff to do that, I use the yoga strap over my ankle and gently pull the foot up.
  7. And then…I just stretch anything else that feels like it wants it.

I repeat this with the other leg.  I also usually do some shoulder stretches and right and left twists (I do have picture of that :)



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7 responses to “Day in the life: Stretches”

  1. Tracy Young Avatar
    Tracy Young

    Fantastic site. Really interesting. Keep it up!

  2. […] do I stretch?  I do a basic routine most mornings.  I also do some general stretch-however-the-spirit-moves-me, including yoga poses, when I’m […]

  3. Yum Yucky Avatar

    How is it that I love to stretch but don’t do it enough? I dunno. Your flexy pics are a nudge that I have to be more diligent.

    Love your blog. I will dig in more. :D

  4. yaoirox666 Avatar

    Those sound like they work really well!
    xD i might need to steal them to keep me up during the daytime. But keep up the good work! :D

  5. Heidi Avatar

    My body needs this so badly. i teared up when you said, “My legs work hard to carry me around all day. This makes them happy. They deserve to be happy. :)” I’m having an emotional day, I’m sorry! So, yes, you’re inspiring me to be better to my body. To thank it for all it does for me. <3

  6. crexalbo Avatar

    I am looking into stretches for my girlfriend, who is about your size. Thank you for the tips! I am making a website that will offer lifestyle tips for people living at a larger size, and i think i will reference your blog in it. :D

  7. Shelley Maxwell Avatar
    Shelley Maxwell

    I was going to start a blog like this. You have already done what I wanted to do.

    I just read your blog the first time. I am hooked.

    My weight is probably 460 now. I plan to see my doctor soon.

    I hope you ard still writing.

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