It’s the second-most wonderful time of the year: Sunshine! Sweating! Swamp-hair! Summer! (Christmas-time and Harry Potter seasons clearly tie for first place most wonderful times of year. But summer is a close second.)
I’m spending (way too much) time on the couch with Baby Drackert this summer while on maternity leave, but… here are three things YOU can tone this summer:
1. Your Hip Flexors. Strong hip flexors keep me moving forward in life– running, jogging, walking and having fun– but they get tight from sitting for extended periods of time (cross country road trips are a must in my summer!) and can lead to low back discomfort. “Hip Flexors” is a non- specific term applied to muscles that bring your hip joint into flexion (closing the gap between your thigh and your belly). Taking time to do a few lunges but can be effective in both strengthening and stretching your ilio-Psoas muscle group.
Start in a simple lunge with your back knee down and top of foot flat on the floor. Take your hands to your hips to make sure your hip points are level and even. After 10 inhales, replace your hands to the ground and lift your back knee up without tucking your toes. Hold for 5 counts. Lower the knee back down and repeat the sequence twice more. Switch which leg is in front and repeat.
2. Your Plantar Fascia.
Two words: sandal season. Not only am I increasing mileage in my running shoes, but I’m also slipping on sandals for quick walks in the summer. Sandals boast notoriously terrible arch support and easily incite foot pain. Grab a RAD Round or tennis ball and prop it under the middle of your arch. Apply gentle pressure and roll your foot lengthwise on the ball. Also try “pumping” your foot (like you are applying the brakes while driving) with the ball right at the junction of the heel and the arch. This action gets the Achilles’ tendon in there, too.
3. Your diaphragm.
Summer is a time when my energetic output increases exponentially– not only are the days longer, but I can’t bear to miss out on any social engagement or chance to travel or opportunity to lounge pool-side. All of this activity leaves me feeling frazzled and in need of a good 2 day nap. Instead, I use Crocodile Pose to re-boot my energy by calming down my neurological system and toning my diaphragm.
Lie down on your belly, placing your forehead on your hands. Mindfully slow down your breathing and feel your diaphragm strengthen and tone as it presses into the floor with each inhale. Stay this way for 6- 8 minutes and you’ll feel completely refreshed and rejuvenated– like you’ve just left a Hawaiian spa.
Let me know how these go for you. Happy Toning and Happy Summer!