Physical Funness for the Motion Starved

Fit more fun into your fitness while exploring the outdoors.

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Stretch before bed

Forward Bend

It’s difficult to get a good night’s rest or even get to sleep when you have a lot of muscle tension and stress.  A good solution to this menacing problem is to stretch before you get into bed.  This is a much better option than reaching for other sleep aids.  Connecting your breath with stretching allows your body to relax and sheds unnecessary muscle tension.  If you’re someone who tosses and turns in your sleep, you may wake up with a stiff neck, sore shoulders or back.  In extreme cases muscle tension can cause cramping in your muscles.  A simple stretching routine before bedtime may help ease these symptoms. Look at it like this; five minutes to calm yourself before bed is better than staring at the ceiling half the night.

Here’s what I suggest

  • Lying on your back, draw your knees into your chest place your hands on top of your knees.  Keep your feet together.  Circle your knees in opposite directions breathing deeply as you circle.  5 times each way.
  • Now, sit up and cross your legs in front of you.  Place your palms on the floor in front of you.  Walk your hands out as you exhale and lean forward from your hips, over your crossed legs.  Stay there and inhale and exhale a few times.  With control, roll back up to a sitting position.  Repeat 3 times.
  • Sitting up straight, extend both legs directly in front of you.  Sit tall and reach your arms in the air as if reaching for the sky. Now bring your arms down twisting your torso to the left, as you twist, place your right hand on the outside of your left thigh and left hand behind you. Hold for three breaths and then repeat on the other side. Remember to stretch your spine by reaching for the sky before you twist. Repeat on both sides two times.
  • Finally, sitting tall on the floor lean forward from the hips over your legs (forward bend). Rest your hands on your legs if necessary otherwise reach for your toes without forcing the stretch. Stay in this position for three to 5 breaths. Relax.

Now you’re ready for bed.

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Cat and Cow

Cat & Cow Pose

After I posted the piece on Eagle Pose for sore neck and upper back relief, I was asked to “write about more things like that.” So, here you go…

Try this sequence to bring flexibility to the shoulders, spine and neck, while softly stimulating the abdominal organs.

Cat & Cow

  1. Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Point your fingertips forward. Place your shins and knees hip-distance apart. Center your head in a neutral position and soften your gaze downward.
  2. Inhale as you drop your belly towards the earth. Lift your chin and chest, and gaze up toward the sky. This is Cow Pose.
  3. As you exhale, draw your belly to your spine and round your back toward the sky. The pose should look like a cat stretching its back. This is Cat Pose.
  4. Release the crown of your head toward the ground, but don’t force your chin to your chest.
  5. Inhale and come back into Cow Pose. Then exhale as you return to Cat Pose.
  6. Repeat 5-20 times.

For other basic shoulder stretches check out this site.


Happy shoulders

Eagle Pose

Sitting at a desk all-day, or hunched over some other contraption can wreak havoc on your shoulders. There are lots of things you can do to give your shoulders a break, swing your arms around and across your body, shrug your shoulders and my favorite, Eagle Pose. In Sanskrit, it’s called Garudasana (gah-rue-DAHS-anna). Garuda was the mythic “king of the birds.” The word is usually rendered into English as “eagle,” though according to one dictionary the name literally means “devourer.” Do this stretch a few times a day and it will devour your shoulder stiffness. Trust me!

Eagle Pose

  • Stand with your big toes touching, heels slightly apart.
  • Bend your knees slightly, lift your left foot up and balancing on your right foot, cross your left thigh over the right. Point your left toes toward the floor, press the foot back, and then hook the top of the foot behind the lower right calf if you can, or you simply cross your legs. Balance on the right foot.
  • Extend your arms straight out in front of your body. Drop your left arm under your right. Bend your elbows, and then raise your forearms perpendicular to the floor. Wrap your arms and press your palms together (or as close as you can get them). Then, lift your elbows and reach your fingertips toward the ceiling. If your palms don’t touch quite yet, press the backs of your hands together, instead.
  • Hold for up to one minute, focusing on your breath and keeping your gaze fixed and soft. To release, unwind gently and repeat on the other side.

Doing this stretch while standing also works on your balance, which is always a plus. If you can’t be bothered to get up from your desk, do the stretch seated. Sit up straight in your chair, both feet on the floor and do the arm portion only.

Try it; let me know what you think.


P.s. Don’t forget to breathe!

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Fish Face Pose?

A long time ago I read that if you chew gum your face won’t get saggy, so I started chewing gum. I’m not sure if it worked, but my face isn’t really saggy (or is it?).

Now there’s something called Facial Yoga, ever heard of it? The idea is the same as the gum chewing; apparently exercising the facial muscles will sculpt and lift your face keeping it looking younger. Maybe it’s not the answer to going under the knife (if you’re into that) but we know that working the other muscles in your bodies keeps us looking fit and younger so why not the face? Hence my gum chewing.

Aside from toning the facial muscles and reducing sagging, these exercises promise to smooth away lines, and deliver a more glowing, youthful complexion. Sound too good to be true? There’s only one way to find out.

From what I’ve read it’s best to do your face yoga routine in the evenings after you’ve washed and moisturized your face. There’s no specific routine, just do the exercises for 10 minutes each evening.

If you have even a remote interest in face yoga watch the video. It’s short and funny, you get to watch the lady do the exercises and make fish faces,  also the interviewer is kinda snarky.

Give it a try and report back. I’d like to know how you did.

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Darn, I just trashed my good helmet!

Quick reminder… if you crack your bike helmet, even a little bit, it’s trashed. Whether it be from your kid tossing it across the room, or the action of you detaching from your bike, the rule is; if it’s cracked, it’s done. The helmet goes in the trash and you go shopping.  I know they’re expensive but so is brain surgery. End of story.

See below for some interesting things to do this weekend:

Presidio Habitats – This is an outdoor art exhibition celebrating the wild Presidio. It’s a free, self guided tour through the trails of the presidio. Along the path you’ll visit 11 sculptures by international artists.  It’s super cool!  Go for a walk or a run and get some culture along the way. You’ll need a map as some of the pieces are off the beaten path.  Exhibition closes in May so you have some time but don’t miss it!

Yoga Tree SF – There are a couple good yoga workshops at Yoga Tree on Valencia this weekend. Saturday they offer a two-hour Yoga 101 workshop. This workshop is great for those new to yoga as well as seasoned yogis. Sunday Yoga Tree offers a 3-hour Yin class with live music.  This class is perfect for those who use yoga as a recovery or therapeutic tool.  I attend this workshop often and find it super rejuvenating.  Click on the link for more info.

Gotta love the Sports Basement. Check out their calendar.  This weekend they offer too many interesting events to list them all.  My favorites are, a Running Dysfunction Clinic, Zumba Class & Core Fitness Class. They also offer Boot Camp classes, runs and bike rides for all.  On Tuesday they even have a “Thank Dog! Bootcamp”. It’s for you and your dog. I see some good stories coming from that! Wish I had a dog.

In an effort to support local business and get you out’a the house, I send along this link. It’s for something called Shop SF Get More.  The SF convention & visitors Bureau came up with it to get us to spend more money in the city.  It’s a bunch of downloadable coupons that will get you hefty discounts on food and goods around town.  In my mind it’s a chance to try something new.  One of the coupons is for free wine at Momi Toby’s in Hayes Valley.  I’ve been to Momi Toby’s before but not for free wine. There’s also a coupon for 20% off at Lombardi Sports. I can use that to get a new bike helmet. Get my feel?

One last thing. There will be some road closures accessing the GGB this weekend.  I’m attaching the link so you can see for yourself. It’s kind of hard to make sense of, but the gist is they’ll affect you if you are planning to drive or ride across the GGB Fri – Sun.

That’s it for this week. I’m taking the weekend off, see you on Monday.  Remember to fiber up and drink your water!