We’ve teamed up with Well.ca to bring you a 3-part blog and video series that’s not only going to get you looking your best but feeling your (absolute) best as well. We want to give you a game plan to make sure that your health and wellness goals become a reality. Are you ready? Be sure to also check out Part 1: NOURISH and Part 2: LIVE!
Part 3 is all about how we FLOW with moving our bodies, opening our bodies and balancing our bodies.
Move Your Body!
We all know how we feel after we finish an awesome run on a beautiful day, or when we complete a challenging yoga or fitness class. We feel high on life, with a sense of fulfillment and joy! That’s because activity causes our body to release endorphins – those feel-good hormones. Our bodies thrive on movement and this is why physical activity is one of our most important primary nourishers. So, take a moment to assess your level of satisfaction in this area of your life. If you’re already super active and feel great about it, then you’re doing fantastic! If on the other hand, you feel like you can improve in this area, that’s okay too! It’s important not to judge yourself, rather, try to find ways that you can make small steps to add more activity into your life. It can be as manageable as taking a 30 min walk a couple times a week (ask a friend to join if you feel like company) or playing tag with the kids in the backyard (this always gets my heart rate up!). Perhaps there is an activity that you have always wanted to try but never thought you had the time. Make time. Schedule it and try it. We promise it will be worth it in how it makes you feel!
Foam Rolling for Relaxation and Stress-Relief
Foam rolling has been around for years and for good reason – there are so many awesome health benefits associated with it. The best part? Practicing it regularly not only helps our physical bodies to feel better but our minds as well. With regular practice, foam rolling can be an effective tool for helping our bodies and minds achieve more balance thus contributing to our overall health and well-being.
You know that feeling when your muscles feel so tired, tight and tense that they become achy? Sometimes it’s due to those long training sessions for an upcoming event. Other times it’s because of those long commutes to work followed by 8 hours straight sitting at your desk trying to meet that Friday deadline. Whatever the cause, this is when physiologically your muscle tissue has changed. Fibrous knots have formed (sometimes referred to as trigger points) and these fibrous areas are no longer getting adequate circulation (hence they are not getting adequate oxygen and nutrients to make them well, feed good). These nasty, fibrous knots are not so easy to get out simply with stretching. Massage and other therapies can be great, but let’s be honest, we don’t always have time to make it to these hour-long sessions every week. That’s where foam rolling comes in. It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s effective. And the best part is it feels oh-so-good! By using the foam roller to effectively roll-out the fibrous tissue, we help ease the tension and pain by increasing circulation into the area which brings in those much-needed nutrients and oxygen. This helps release these knots and also helps ease any associated pain (ahhhhh).
The other pro to this tool is that it helps with the stress we are feeling inside. We all know that when we feel tense, we tend to feel stress also. Along with these awesome benefits, rolling over our tissues and areas such as our pelvis and spine has been shown to release endorphins (as we are often stimulating acupressure points) as well as help calm our nervous system. So what could be better? A tool that is easy to use at home, takes only a few minutes and can help with how our bodies feel and how we feel on the inside!
Watch below for some foam roller stretches to try at home:
Read on for some of our fave foam rolling exercises:
Sit on top of the foam roller with your left leg crossed over your right leg (so that your right glute is perched on top of the roller). Roll back and forth from the lower back on the right side to the outside of the upper thigh to get deep into this muscle and release it. If there is a spot that feels particularly sore, stay here for a few deep breaths for a deeper release. Repeat on the other side.
Outer Hip and Thigh Releases:
Lie on your side with the foam roller underneath your right hip and your left leg crossed over the outstretched bottom leg (left foot can be flat on the floor to add some support). Slowly and gently roll up and down the outer part of the hip and all the way down to the outer knee. It is best to try to avoid rolling directly over the pointy part of the hip (called the greater trochanter) as this can be irritating. As above, if there are certain areas that you feel are particularly sore, spend a bit of time here breathing deeply before moving on. Repeat on the left side.
Thoracic Mobilizer and Chest Opener (Instructed in the Video Above):
Lie on your back with the foam roller under your mid-upper back at chest height (for ladies along your bra line). Cup your hands behind your neck and head to give some support. Inhale through your nose as you gently arch your back over the foam roller. Exhale through your mouth as your curl up (contracting your core and diaphragm) until you squeeze all of the air out. Repeat 8-10 times.
Snow Angels (Instructed in the Video Above):
Lie on your back with the foam roller positioned lengthwise along your spine (from pelvis to the back of your head). Let your body relax into the roller. Reach your arms out to the side below shoulder height and bend your elbows so you have made a W shape with both arms. Inhale through your nose as your gently reach your arms overhead (towards your head not towards the ceiling). Exhale through your nose as you bend your elbows back down towards your hips (recreating the W). Repeat 8-10 times.
We are hoping you can find ways to incorporate some of these tips and exercises to help you feel your best all year round!
Lindsay Evans and Danielle McGrath are co-founders of Nourish Live Flow, a holistic health, and wellness company operating in Toronto and the GTA. They are integrative nutrition health coaches trained through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and are currently in training to become meditation and mindfulness coaches. Their mission is to enhance the health and wellness of women, men, and children everywhere and empower people to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing. They whole-heartedly believe that reducing our toxic overload is essential in achieving optimal wellness. They have become ambassadors for 3 companies who share this belief, Beautycounter, dōTERRA and Juice Plus. Learn more about their health coaching practice at www.nourishliveflow.com.