So Bess, over at Bess be Fit is hosting the stretch for 7 challenge. Basically for 7 days you’re challenged to stretch for at least 20 minutes. I am bad at stretching. I always sort of half-ass it after a workout and while I always stretch a little bit before a run it’s not as good as should be. And what I’ve found through my physical therapy is that my lack of flexibility is a huge reason why I’m having knee issues. My hips are apparently super tight and that is bad because tight hips make my knees roll in even more than they do naturally so it’s just compounding the problem and putting a ton of pressure on my knees. So my homework has been stretching. Every day. And most of the time I do it. But sometimes I don’t.
But in comes the challenge and I’ve been really good so far this week about making myself stretch. I even took a yoga class for the 2nd time ever on Monday. Surprisingly I was more flexibly than I thought I was and thanks to some pilates and Jillian Michaels’ DVDs (who knew Jillian was sneaking yoga in) I knew some of the moves so I was pretty comfortable in the class. But by the time they go to the hip stretches, I was dying. Clearly that’s where I’m the least flexible. These were the ones that I could feel the most:
After class I felt great and even considered doing yoga again but the next morning my knees were killing me. Not sure if it was yoga or something else I’d done but I decided I’m going to give them a little rest and not attempt any yoga for a while. We’ll see how they do.
Beyond Yoga, my 20 minutes of challenge stretching has been involving the foam roller. My must-have fitness essential. I can’t get through the day without this thing. I wish I had a mini one I could tote around with me all day long. It’s so painful but the pain is so good. See, beyond my tight hips my knee pain is also caused by a tight IT band. You can learn more about IT bands and why a foam roller can help you here. But basically the foam roller helps loosen up my IT band so I roll on this thing like crazy – morning and night. And I use one at the gym. Except most of the gym ones suck because everyone rolls on them and there is only 1 good one left so I probably look like some crazy stalker girl waiting around the stretching room for someone to be done with it.
For more on foam rolling, you should head over to Peanut Butter Powered where Lauren, who is also participating in the Stretch for 7 Challenge, posted some great examples of her favorite foam roller stretches.
And while we’re at it. Here are a couple of my other favorite stretches for tight hips and IT bands:
So there you go. A couple good stretch options to get your though the remaining days of the challenge. So far I’ve gotten my 20 min in every day. I was hoping to get to mat pilates to knock out today’s requirements but alas, I had a morning meeting that got in the way. Guess I’ll have to fit it in later.
Hope you’re enjoying the fact that it’s Friday. Low key night at our household… movie + grilled cheese & tomato soup or homemade pizza. Either way, great stay-in-and-be-cozy plans for a rainy April evening.