We all know that stretching is important for maintaining healthy muscles and joints by increasing mobility. It allows us to perform daily activities with ease and reduces the risk of injury from more rigorous activities.
Unfortunately, the wrists, ankles, and feet tend to get neglected during stretching. This can lead to a domino effect of pain and decreased mobility along the entire kinetic chain. Remember! Our bodies are connected from head to toe, without interruption, through deep fascia, so misalignment in one part of the body, affects our entire bodies.
Feet are the foundation of a strong and aligned body. They have a dual purpose of weight bearing and propulsion. Plus, they are critical to shock absorption and transmission of force during walking, running, and jumping.
Hands pick up, grab, throw, push, and even hold us up in handstands, but these actions would be limited without proper wrist strength and stability…and our elbows and shoulders might pay the price.
From a table position (knees below hips, wrists below shoulders, with a straight spine and core engaged), slowly rotate hands outward until your elbow creases are forward and your fingertips are pointed towards your knees. You should feel a stretch from the inside of your elbow all the way to the tips of your fingers. To deepen the stretch, lean slightly forward. Hold for 30 seconds or longer, breathing into the stretch.
Maintaining the same position, flip hands so that palms are facing upwards and the tops of your hands are resting on the floor. Your fingertips should be facing your knees and your
elbow creases should still be facing forward. This position counters the last stretch and releases the top of your wrists. To deepen the stretch, lean back. Hold for 30 seconds or longer, slowly breathing into the stretch.
METATARSAL STRETCH WITH FIGURE EIGHTS
From table pose, tuck your toes as though you are about to stand up. Then slowly sit up with a straight spine. You will feel a deep stretch through the arches of your feet and toes- breathe through this and hold for as long as you can! In this pose, practice Figure Eights for your wrists.
Clasp hands and fingers together in front of you and begin to make a figure eight motion with them. It should feel very fluid and snake-like. Try switching directions!
From table position, place the top of one foot onto the ground and then place the top of the other foot onto the sole of that foot. Slowly sit back with a neutral spine to allow pressure from the metatarsals of the top foot to massage the pressure points on the sole of the bottom foot. Hold for at least 30 seconds, moving around a little to find the most tender spot. Repeat this on the opposite foot. This relieves tension in the lower back as well as improves digestion.