Cold Weather Stretches for Bikers
With brisk autumn mornings and festivities luring us indoors, the body is working overtime, keeping us curled up in bed all afternoon for movies, busy at our desks, and our dinner tables. Proper stretching and warm ups can prevent injury during these temperature drops, as our bodies stiffen in the cold weather. Bikers especially (yes, you) could benefit from some extra TLC before hitting the open road these next few months. Keeping your limits, safety and pleasure a priority, consider some of these stretches for circulation and flexibility!
Before stretching, take at least a few minutes to warm up the joints. Planning your stretch after a shower or a three minute dance break is an easy way to schedule in some self care throughout the week. This could be as simple as some feel-good movement like toe and sky-reaches, shaking out the arms and legs.
Start out simple and easy, encouraging blood flow through a gentle downward dog pose. From the knees, place your hands underneath the shoulders on the floor in front of you and push the hips back, either staying close to the ground or lifting to your feet. Opt for supportive cushions under your knees to prevent any discomfort or pain. To help with circulation, you could also lie down next to a wall, resting the calves against it as parallel as is comfortable. Oxygen from the feet and legs can then move throughout the upper body! Let the head and/or pelvic floor rest on a pillow if desired, and remember to breath.
Move into an eye of the needle stretch, using pillows for extra support as needed. After lying on your back with both knees bent, cross your right leg over the left as if sitting in a chair. Then, clasp your hands behind the left leg, letting the body rock back slightly. When ready, do the same with the other leg, and repeat! For a gentler stretch, lay on the floor with a pillow under the lower back, bring the feet in, touching the soles together and letting the knees fan to the floor. Hugging a roll of blankets or a pillow can feel extra good in queen pose!
In a bend, release some upper back and neck tension. Knowing your comfort zone, gradually come to your feet and walk the hands to upright posture. Play around with the arms and shoulders here, focusing on expanding the chest. When ready, clasp the hands over head and reach back - letting the shoulders follow. Shake it all out when you're finished, and start the day (or a good nights sleep)!