Small Changes | Big Results: How to Move In Isolation
Whether we’re spending 23.5 or 24 hours inside these days, we can still get creative with how we’re moving our bodies. It’s so easy these days to spend the day working / chilling in bed or on the sofa. Maybe you venture to a desk or a table. Often these location changes come with a new brain activity, but our physical stays the same-- we sit on a tucked pelvis and lean back. If you’re like me, on a good day, you hop up for 30 minutes to “exercise” (argue with your three year old about getting in the stroller and then storm out for a work call).
Especially in pregnancy when we want to help ensure optimal fetal positioning, it’s important to spend time in many different positions. We don’t want a baby (or our body in general) to get too comfortable (read: stuck) in any one place. So let’s get creative! To give you some simple guidance, we’ve broken up our suggestions into three categories: resting, working, and stretching. Think of this as a jumping off point-- and please share any new way or different ways you’re enjoying moving!
Whatever it is you’re doing for enjoyment these days – try doing it some pose other than semi-reclined.
Modified Legs Up The Wall
If you’re not already spending time with your legs up the wall, please please start today! This position increases circulation and can help with those swollen calves and ankles. It also stretches your hamstrings and can relieve lower back tension. You can scroll or read or just stare at the ceiling or close your eyes.
The AC Slater
Remember AC Slater from “Saved by the Bell?” All those work Zoom calls and Houseparty hangs can be done in a 90s retro sheik backwards chair straddle. This position will encourage our babe to turn away from your low back! (And relieve low back tension for anyone not pregnant).
Lie on your side
If you really want to take a load off, tip to your side! Move all those sofa cushions around and prop a leg up. Get some support in between your knees. Or try keeping your bottom leg straight and bend just your top leg. If you get a cushion under that top knee it should tip you forward a bit. This position is not only very comfortable, but frees up your tailbone. Vary the side you lay on.
Set Up Creative Work Stations
As someone who has always worked from home, I have a lot of practice moving dynamically throughout my day. Regular desk set-ups have never been my thing.
If you don’t already have a standing desk station, set one up! I typically use a kitchen counter with some cookbooks to prop a computer up for 20-minute (or so) standing sessions throughout the day. The benefits of standing are similar to the resting positions. We free up our back, pelvis, and tailbone. Workout our leg muscles in different ways and likely have to weight shift, sway, or rock around to stay comfortable. All great micro-movements.
Clear off your coffee table, throw a couch cushion on the floor, and get cozy. Working from the floor is many positions in one. Stretch one leg out and then another. Cross your legs. Stretch out both legs. Try sitting on your knees. You get it…
Ditch the Chair
And, if you do find table or desk height it best, order a big ol’ exercise ball. Sitting on a ball allows for bouncing, rocking, swaying and is great for your core!
Stretch It Out
If you are looking for intentional stretches, ways to “wake up” your body, or get “unstuck” here are our top three
Roll out your feet
Roll out your feet with a tennis ball, lacrosse ball, Yoga Tune Up Ball, or Melt Method Ball - even a bouncy ball. Place the ball under one foot, while standing well on the other. Roll the ball front to back and side to side. Think about spending at least 1 - 3 minutes on each foot! Breathe. Before you switch to the other side stand tall and notice how your legs feel. The leg of the foot you stretched should be remarkably more “alert.” Switch sides. I have the intention of doing this everyday!
Down dog at the wall
Down Dog at the Wall. Stand facing a wall, put your arms against the wall at shoulder height. Walk your feet back and lean forward until your body is making a 90 degree angle at your hip hinge. Press firmly into your hands and your feet. You should feel a nice stretch in the back of your legs, low back, and arms.
Wall clock chest opener
Try a wall clock, chest opener. Stand sideways at the wall and lift your arm up over your head and place it against the wall. Try to extend your arms backyard, then down, they up in front of you. Imagine your hand is moving along the numbers of a clock from 12 to 12. Switch sides!
If you want more thinking on small habits that can have a big impact check out Katy Bowman. She is the authority on incorporating small movements into daily life. Nutritious Movement, her business, completely re-frames movement + exercise. I highly recommend exploring her site and reading some of her books.
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