Over the 4th of July my family drove down to North Carolina to visit with some friends over the holiday and needless to say 15hrs in a car is enough to make anyone a little tense. So whether you are traveling for summer vacation or working extra hours at the office this summer here are some suggestions to release that extra stiffness.
The foam roll is one of the first pieces that jumps out in my mind when it comes to the end of a stressful day or long car ride. Lying your whole spine (from crown of the head to tail bone) onto the roll helps your muscles relax and open up through your chest. Upper body openers include Puppet Arms, Scissors, large arm circles, or slow head tilts from side to side. To massage your whole spine have your arms bent at your elbows pressing active into the mat by your sides and imagine peeling your bones off like a piece of wallpaper with a series of Coccyx Curls or Hip Escalator.
Sitting for extended periods of time results in tight hips and the foam roll works wonders. Lie with you back on the mat and slide the foam roll perpendicular to your body so it rests below your low back (supporting your sacrum). Your hands will press onto the ends of the roll sticking out to keep your shoulders wrapped back and down. Gently draw both knees into your chest maintaining your scoop for a set of Scissors, Bicycle (both directions) and Helicopter similar to how your would do them on the Arc.
A thera band or towel can provide another option to melt away tension. Stand or sit with tall posture holding the band or towel taunt at shoulder distance overhead. Do some Side Bends, Twists or Chest Expansion. Than lie on your back with your feet in the band for some Frogs, Lower/Lifts and Single Leg Circles.
These simple exercises will keep you loose and limber in as little as a commercial break. Keep active this summer, but remember to take time to give yourself a well deserved break once in awhile!