Stretches and Flexibility Exercises

Stretching (and foam rolling), along with other flexibility activities like yoga, Pilates, and tai chi, are more than simple low-impact exercises. They are powerful tools helping to prevent injuries and lessen pain. They also have a direct impact on our posture, balance, mobility, and performance (whether it is athletic performance or simple everyday activities that can become challenging as we get older).

The Advantages of Being Flexible

Being flexible means that we are able to lengthen one or more joints and move through a bigger range of motion without feeling any pain or experiencing limitations. Flexibility is beneficial for numerous reasons:

  • Flexibility can aid with preventing injuries caused by tightness: By lessening tension in muscles and making them more supple, flexibility lowers the risk of stressing neighboring joints. Being flexible minimizes imbalances and muscular compensations that may lead to strains, pulls, and tears.
  • Increased range of motion boosts performance: A better range of motion in areas like the hips and knees, for instance, enhances our workouts because it helps us sink deeper into the exercises and possibly train longer at higher intensities. As mentioned above, any straining or discomfort will most likely be minimized when flexibility is optimal.
  • Improved mobility helps a great deal in everyday activities: Bending down to tie a shoe or picking up something off the floor may not always be smooth and easy. As we get older, it becomes evident that staying flexible (and agile) helps lessen the risks for poor balance, falls, etc. This maintained mobility gives a better quality of life in the later years.
  • Flexibility aids with correcting posture: Stretches and other flexibility exercises can help better our overall posture and mobility. These can help lessen slouching and pain when people sit for too long, for instance. Stretching and/or foam rolling after exercising is also highly recommended for a more targeted recovery.

On a Final Note

Last weekend, I attended a Pilates class for the first time. I thought I would give it a try for the new year. So along with some yoga poses and tai chi exercises that I do regularly, I now can include some Pilates exercises too.

What do you feel like trying this new year? 

Happy 2022!!


Levy, Jillian. “The Surprising Benefits of Flexibility.” Dr. Axe, 27 Nov. 2021, Accessed 1 Jan. 2022.

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Setting up a routine

There’s nothing better to start the day with than with setting up a routine in whatever way feels like the right picks for you to implement. It can change over time of course, so just choose what seems easy to carry out right now. Setting up a routine to start the day is setting up a little bit of time for yourself before dealing with the usual daily ups and downs. I have picked for 4 easy steps for myself to start each day for quite a while now. I thoroughly enjoy this morning ritual.

Red light therapy

Each morning, before having my breakfast, I use the TrueLight Energy Square for 20 minutes. It offers two types of red light wavelengths for rejuvenation of the cells (helping with collagen production, among other things) and near-infrared light for strengthening the cells, mostly targeting the mitochondria too. The mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cells. They are little organelles within the cells that produce ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), the energy that our body needs each day in order for us to do anything. So whatever we can do to strengthen our mitochondria, especially as we get older, is a big plus. The TrueLight Energy Square also offers the option to use a yellow/amber light, mostly to help with skin health. I have used in the past a Joovv Light Mini which is another great option. Red light therapy also increases blood flow to whichever area you wish to target. Increased blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients delivered to the given area, another big plus for overall health maintenance.

The 4-7-8 breathing exercise

The 4-7-8 breathing exercise is a vagal nerve stimulating exercise that I wrote about in a previous post: 4 Easy Breathing Exercises for Relaxation. This exercise has been promoted by Dr. Andrew Weil and is so easy to implement. No excuses! I will describe it here again briefly as I heard it described in a Bulletproof podcast. Begin by sitting comfortably without crossing your arms or legs. Place the tip of your tongue right between your palate and the upper teeth. Breathe in for 4 seconds through the nose. Hold the breath for 7 seconds. Breathe out through the mouth for 8 seconds, making a “whoosh” sound as you still have your tongue placed between your palate and upper teeth. Repeat 4 times only, twice a day. Starting a meditation practice can be a great addition to this.

Morning detox drink

Each morning, before drinking my Bulletproof coffee, I always have a cup of warm water to which I add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, the juice of ½ a lemon, and a teaspoon of Celtic sea salt as described in this YouTube video. This helps detoxify the liver, among other things. As explained in the YouTube video, the original recipe (just warm water and lemon) was created by nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman. I mentioned this morning detox drink in a previous post about my Paleo/Primal eating habits

A few stretches

I like to incorporate a few stretches while fixing my morning beverages (the morning detox drink and Bulletproof coffee). As mentioned in Why Everyday Movement is Non-Negotiable, I usually start with the upper cat back stretch and have gotten into the habit now of doing standing calf raises while blending my coffee. After that, whenever I have a minute throughout the day, I do a few more stretches. Incorporating stretches to whatever else you have to do is a sure way to exercise without even really noticing it. So start with any stretch that feels right for you to practice right now, and build up from there, a little bit at a time, based on your schedule.

In summary

“4 Easy Steps to Start the Day” emphasizes the importance of creating habits (whatever they may be for you) that will benefit your overall health and wellness goals. Incorporating healthy habits into our daily lives is a long-time process that will most likely be challenged at times. But persevering nonetheless is strengthening the right mindset that can allow us to become stronger human beings, able to overcome or simply better cope with whatever we have to deal with in life.

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Why everyday movement is a must

We live in a world that is far from the hunter-gatherer life our bodies are designed to experience. That is why everyday movement is non-negotiable if we want to adjust our bodies to the mostly sedentary life that we live. In Move Your DNA, biomechanist Katy Bowman states, “Your body is never ‘out of shape’; it is always in a shape created by how you have moved up to this very moment. It is constantly responding and shifting to a continuous stream of input provided by your external and internal environments, even if that input consists only of sitting still, for hours on end.” Enough movement throughout the day is necessary for proper blood flow to be delivered to the different muscles used, which means more oxygen and nutrients, along with “waste removal.” Enough movement throughout the day (along with other variables) is necessary to ensure proper cellular health.

What everyday movement means

When we have to sit for long periods of time, such as when working at a computer, every 30 minutes or so, we want to get up, stretch, and walk a little bit. The same goes if we are at a standing workstation. We want to incorporate movement throughout the day to nourish our cells. A few squats or other simple exercises can be nice little breaks throughout the day. That way, going to the gym after work can be optional. As a matter of fact, if you think that going to the gym for one hour can make up for a long day of sitting for hours, that is not the case. We want to shape our daily life so that it is as similar as possible to how it was during hunter-gatherer times. And when it comes to movement, it has to be varied motion throughout the day. Taking short walks in the morning, at lunch, or after dinner, whenever you have a few minutes can be a great addition to your daily movement regimen. Whatever fits your schedule best and only implement one change at a time to ensure adherence to it.

My daily stretches

Each day, I make sure I do a certain amount of stretches. I start with the upper cat back in the morning and then, throughout the day, I do various stretches whenever I have a minute: the upper cervical rotation self-mobilization, chin tucks, psoas stretch, piriformis stretch, quad stretch, calf stretch, standing calf raises, tricep dips, pec stretch, and a couple of shoulder exercises. I also add the good morning exercise (a Foundation training exercise). At lunch, I usually do several eye drills to fully work the six eye muscles, followed by a couple of Tai Chi exercises for relaxation. Once home, I like to do the side-bridge and regular plank for the core, and on certain days, some squats, kettlebell swings, and balance exercises. At the end of each day, I stretch the hamstrings and stay in the half-lotus position for a bit. Lastly, I do the cat/cow yoga pose for the lower back. Some days I skip some of the stretches, but this is my usual routine for now. I truly believe discipline allows us to stay grounded whatever we have to face each day. And again, everyday movement is non-negotiable!


Katy Ann Bowman. Move Your DNA : Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement. Carlsborg, Wa, Propriometrics Press, 2014, pp. 21, 25, 36–37.

Sisson, Mark. The Primal Blueprint : 21-Day Total Body Transformation. Oxnard, Ca, Primal Blueprint Publishing, 2016, p. 125.

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