BEAT THE HEAT | PART 4
Flexibility + Relaxation for Hot Days
[Summer Stretching Routine]
Maria Sollon MS, CSCS, PES
Let’s keep you lookin as hot as a spicy pepper while feeling cool like a chilled cucumber throughout the summer season!
As the temperatures rise, it’s the perfect time to incorporate some calming stretches and relaxing movements into your routine. Were talking about the feel good moves you can do on your Total Gym, or anywhere mimicking the same movements! The Summer Stretching Routine is designed to improve your flexibility, ease tension, and help your mind and body unwind after a hot day.
This final blog in the series showcases a movement remedy to relax, refresh, and sooth your muscles!
BEAT THE HEAT SERIES OVERVIEW
Before we dive into our relaxation rituals, I want to congrats you for making it to Part-4 of the Beat the Heat Series! If you’ve missed the previous blogs, be sure to check them out for refreshing ways to keep cool when it’s “oh so hot” outside!
Part 4: (Current Blog) Learn how to keep your muscles limber and unwind after a hot day with a Soothing Summer Stretching routine!
BENEFITS OF RELAXED MIND + BODY
Having a relaxed mind and body can bring numerous benefits to your overall well-being. Here are five significant advantages of achieving a state of relaxation:
1. Reduced Stress and Anxiety: Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation, can significantly reduce stress and anxiety levels. By activating the body’s relaxation response, you can counteract the effects of the “fight or flight” response, leading to a calmer and more balanced mental state.
2. Improved Sleep Quality: A relaxed mind and body promote better sleep quality. When you can let go of racing thoughts and physical tension, you are more likely to fall asleep faster and experience a more restorative sleep.
3. Enhanced Cognitive Function: When you are relaxed, your cognitive function improves. You can think more clearly, focus better, and make decisions with greater clarity. A relaxed mind is more creative and receptive to new ideas.
4. Lower Blood Pressure and Heart Health: Chronic stress and tension can contribute to high blood pressure and strain on the cardiovascular system. By practicing relaxation techniques, you can lower blood pressure and promote better heart health.
5. Improved Muscle Flexibility and Recovery: During the heat of summer, muscles can become tense and tight, especially after intense workouts. Keeping your mind and body relaxed helps alleviate muscle tension, promoting improved flexibility and faster recovery. Performing a consistent stretching routine, can aid in keeping your muscles limber and ready for your next fitness session. Additionally, relaxation techniques can reduce post-workout muscle soreness, allowing you to maintain a consistent workout routine throughout the summer without feeling overly fatigued.
6. Enhanced Heat Tolerance and Exercise Performance: When your mind and body are relaxed, you can better adapt to the heat during summer workouts. A relaxed state helps regulate your body’s temperature and prevents overheating, making it easier to tolerate hot conditions during outdoor activities. As a result, you can maintain optimal exercise performance and stay focused on your fitness goals without being overly affected by the heat. Staying cool-headed and relaxed during workouts also reduces the risk of heat-related illnesses, allowing you to enjoy your summer fitness routine safely and effectively.
Overall, cultivating relaxation in your daily life can lead to a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling existence. It’s essential to find relaxation practices that work for you, whether it’s through mindfulness meditation, yoga, spending time in nature, or engaging in activities you enjoy. Making time for relaxation is an investment in your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
SUMMER STRETCHING ROUTINE
This Total Gym stretching routine will give your tight muscles some TLC by moving them through different ranges of motion to release tension, tightness, and inflammation buildup potentially from the heat. Performing these stretches on your Total Gym will allow you to utilize the glide board to enhance your flexibility by moving deeper into a stretch.
Since we are all at different fitness and flexibility levels, you will have the unique ability to explore your own range of motion based on how your body feels and what it needs to release during your moment session. Allow your mind to be open so you can be in tune with your body. Pay attention to what you feel, what your body is asking for, and move slowly with intention by allowing your breath to guide your journey.
Note: Ideally, these stretches are designed to be performed on your Total Gym. However, you can also perform these same movements off of the equipment
if you are away from home to keep your flexibility on track.
The following 5 Soothing Stretching movements are summer themed to keep your mind and body working together. Each stretch listed has a visual cue and a focus tip to help guide you through your stretch journey. Be playful and explore your own movement patterns.
Lastly, this stretching routine is not about reps or sets. It’s about feeling what your body needs to release, relax, and regroup. So take your time and perform each movement with a purpose to “melt” or relax into the stretch.
• Watch the video demonstrations to see how each summer themed stretch is performed on your Total Gym.
• Take time to learn these stretches with proper form prior to performing them on your TG. This will allow you to focus on releasing into the stretch to improve your flexibility.
• Perform these stretches in a slow, controlled manor. Hold for a moment at your end range of motion, breath deeply into the stretch, and repeat 3-5 times in each position.
• Repeat as many rounds as your time permits.
• Incorporate this or other stretching routines daily to get the most out of your performance.
1. Beachside Hamstring Stretch: (AKA: Figure 4 variations)
• Visualize: Imagine sitting on the beach as you flow through stretches that lengthen and sooth your legs.
• Focus: Allow the Total Gym to help you achieve a deeper stretch along with the glide board.
2. Sunshine Spine Twists: (AKA: Seated Twists)
• Visualize: Imagine shining your spine as you rotate through your movement to promote spinal mobility.
• Focus: Utilize the breath as you sit tall to elongate the spine. Keep the elongation as you rotate into the stretch. Press the inner thighs into the glide board to keep your hips even as you twist.
3. Summer Breeze Shoulder Opener: (AKA: Child’s Pose variations)
• Visualize: Imagine a gentle breeze flowing over your shoulders, carrying you deeper into the stretch and melting the stress away.
• Focus: Dynamically open through the shoulders, chest and upper back to relieve tension and tightness.
4. Seaside Hip Flexor Stretch: (AKA: Runners Lunge variations)
• Visualize: Imagine stretching in the sea while giving your hip flexors some TLC. The soothing water flows around your hips allowing your muscles to deepen into the stretch.
• Focus: Focus on lengthening and opening these crucial muscles to alleviate tightness and improve hip flexibility.
5. Poolside Inner Thigh Flow: (AKA: 1/2 Frog)
• Visualize: Imagine lounging by the pool, surrounded by the serene blue waters, as you gracefully lengthen and tone your thigh muscles.
• Focus: Focus on core activation while stretching dynamically. This sequence combines strength and length to help promote relaxation, restore balance, and leave you feeling invigorated.
Check out the video to see how these Soothing Stretches are performed on your Total Gym.
Congratulations on taking charge of your fitness journey this summer with the Beat the Heat Series and your Total Gym! I hope you enjoyed the Sizzling Summer Circuit, learned valuable hydration tips + simple recipes, and take time to revitalize your muscles with the stretch routine.
Stay tuned for more Total Gym fitness inspiration, as I have more exciting blogs coming your way. Until then, stay strong and flexible, keep stretching, and let’s continue to Beat the Heat together!