Stretching for Joy

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I go to the gym four times a week for a pretty intense cardio and weightlifting class. When the class is done, I’m so relieved that I finished, I usually skip the stretches...

I am fully aware that this is bad!

So for this week’s challenge, I decided to try stretching at home every morning.

I looked on the internet for stretching routines and there are literally about a million to choose from.

In the end I went with a modified routine from Popsugar. Because there are so many options, I decided on one that was time-based—10 minutes every morning.

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Truthfully, I think stretching is kinda boring.

Darrick stretches every night and seems to enjoy it, but I’ve never been able to.

The whole time I’m just wondering if I’ve done it long enough, and when I’m allowed to switch so I can get to the next stretch, so I can be done.

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It went okay. I usually don’t like working out at home because it doesn’t feel like we have the space. I’m constantly worried about knocking into something.

However, for stretching I wasn’t concerned, so I just stretched in our bedroom. And it wasn’t that bad, but then I had to go on a work trip...

…And stretching in the hotel room felt totally drab.

I’m miserable here—you can see it in my face. :(

I’m miserable here—you can see it in my face. :(

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I still did it but without any pleasure...

(Side note: taking photos of yourself exercising is not easy.)

I knew if I didn’t stop and switch up what I was doing, I would be doomed to complete this week’s challenge but then go back to my habit of never stretching.

So I thought and thought about what makes me dislike stretching so much, and I had an inspiration on my flight home!

I love being outside, so why not move my stretching routine to our backyard?

Or meet up with girlfriends to do light yoga in the park?

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Not only was stretching outside more enjoyable, but it helped me finally understand the timing of a stretch routine.

In the past I tried to count in my head or look at a timer to tell me when to switch my stretch.

But outside under the trees with the company of the wind, I used my breath as my timer—five deep, slow breaths for each movement.

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At the end of my first ten-minute stretch routine outside, I felt limber, calm, and filled with gratitude.

Sometimes I forget that my body’s ability to move, to be strong, to feel, is a gift. I treat working out like a chore.

But this week’s challenge has not only helped me find a way to better take care of my body—it reminded me that I can choose to do so in a way that brings me joy.  

 

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