Welcome to the 18th habit in the #GiveMe30HabitProject!!
See this post for all the details and backstory!
This month’s habit is to stretch daily!
This month’s habit challenge is designed to help keep your body moving well and eliminate some common nagging aches and pains. As an added bonus, stretching can help improve function and decrease stress!
Let’s face it, most of us sit the majority of our day. We sit in the car on the way to work, we sit at a desk at work, and then we sit at home while we eat and relax. If you were one of the lucky individuals whose job keeps them on their feet and moving, stretching is still very important because of the extra stress on your body.
Side note: the best set up / solution is not to be on your feet all day, but rather to alternate positions. Ideally, you would be able to have a convertible desk that would allow you to switch between seated and standing positions every half hour to hour. It’s also important to get up and walk around for 5-10 minutes every 60 minutes or so just to get things moving.
If you are active, you probably understand the importance of stretching. What most people don’t know is that certain types of stretching our best before exercise while others are better afterward. Dynamic stretching, which means that you move your body through range of motion without holding at maximal tension is OK to perform before strength training. However, isometric stretching, which requires you to hold the stretch at the end range of motion, actually decrease his strength and should be reserved for after your workout.
Stretching throughout the day in small chinch of time can be helpful to offset muscle tension. It can be helpful to set reminders on your phone or to have a habit of stretching before or after certain activities so that they become your reminder trigger. Say for instance, after you return from a restroom break, stand at your desk and stretch for 2 minutes. Or after your lunch break, stretch for 5 minutes.
I personally love stretching after I take a bath since my muscles are good and warm. Nighttime stretching before bed is also very relaxing and is a great way to wind down.
The first chart below is helpful for determining stretches by body part. Keep in mind that sometimes the part that is giving you nagging pains may not be the part you need to stretch. For example, low back pain is routinely caused by tight hip flexors or even abdominals.￼ For this reason, unless you have the ability to get a physical therapist’s or personal trainer’s analysis, I find it is helpful to stick with a full body routine like what’s shown in the second chart.
You can find a good general routine on YouTube if you prefer video, or just follow your own if you have preferred stretches. If you want to really work on mobility and muscle tension, add foam rolling to the routine. I like a foam roller like this and use this video as a guide.
OK, so now that you have an idea of what the habit looks in practice and the benefits of practicing it, it’s your turn! You don’t have to do every single one of these, but these are some ideas for you to implement.
For the next 30 days:
- Every day for the next 30 days, come up with a plan for adding a stretching routine into your day.
- Practical Tips: Find a method that you feel like would work well for you, and a time that you won’t feel rushed.
- Note how you feel after stretching.
- Practical tips: See if you feel energized, less stressed, less muscle tension, etc.
- Ask a friend or your spouse to join you in this habit.
- Practical tips: Check in with one another and share your struggles so that you can help each other troubleshoot ways to overcome them.
- Make a mental note of how your body feels over the course of the month.
- Practical tips: Call this benefit to mind whenever you don’t feel like following through on your habit.
- Use habit stacking or a reminder on your phone to trigger your routine until it becomes an automatic habit.
- Practical tips: Adjust your schedule to make sure you can continue to accommodate this process moving forward past the 30 days!
🚨 Don’t forget to share this project with others! You can share the link to this blog post as a status/post on Facebook. Feel free to save and use the image from this post, or use the ones I’ll have on my Instagram page. Whatever other means you have to get more involvement will make this project more fruitful! Tweet, email, pin on Pinterest, etc.
Also, I encourage you to keep track of your journey and use the hashtag #GiveMe30HabitProject on social media. Please tag me in your habit progress and insights! I’ll also be glad to troubleshoot sticking points. I’m Kaci M Byrd Cheeseman on Facebook and @CheeseGirlPA on Instagram.
If you want to check in daily for accountability, you can post either a photo and/or status and use #GiveMe30HabitProject #Day1, #GiveMe30HabitProject #Day2, so on and so forth. I’d love to see how it goes and repost—only if you give me permission, of course! I’ll be searching the hashtag to see who is joining in.
Remember: What is it you want to achieve? Who do you want to become? How do you want to serve others? You may not know how to get there, or even how to get started. I just ask that you trust me and help spread the message to others so they can become involved. Keep showing up, and together we will get you there, one 30 day habit at a time!
Are you ready? Let’s get growing!!
1/ Do you have a method for incorporating stretching that works well for you?
2/ How often do you stretch?
P.S. If you are interested in working on a specific habit and need someone to help you troubleshoot, keep you motivated, and hold you accountable, I offer coaching a variety of ways, which you can learn more about here.
My specialty is habit change and my approach is to work on mindset alongside the habit, so that it is healthy and sustainable, and this is best done via 1:1 Coaching which you can learn about here. Whether it involves your health, finances, nutrition, exercise, relationships, or personal growth, habits are the key to success. We are the outcome of what we repeatedly do. Without addressing that, there can be no change. Learn more here!