The last three days have consisted of: exercise ball, Latin dance, and yoga. The last one has been a real lifesaver, because if there's anything I'm bad at, it's taking the time to stretch. And you know what? It's true what they say:
If you don't stretch, you will hurt yourself. LISTEN TO ME: IF YOU DO NOT STRETCH, YOU WILL HURT YOURSELF.
Ask me how I know. Ok, I'll tell you.
I've been having trouble with my knees for the past year. I thought it was because I wasn't wearing the right shoes (I have a weakness for high heels, but I limit how much activity I do in them). I thought it was because I was running the wrong way (because who knew there were so many ways to run?). I thought I was developing arthritis, nursing old sprains, or just plain getting old.
The solution to my aches and pains? Yes, stretching.
My chiropractor gave me the old standby stretches for hamstrings, calves and hips. The one that really surprised me was the stretch he told me to do for my quads. It's the same as I always did before, where you stand and reach back, grab the top of your foot and pull it toward your buttock. This time, though, I was to hold onto a chair and go into full ballerina pose.
Wow, I didn't know I could stretch that part. I feel a stretch that goes over my knees, not my kneecap... like a couple of elastic bands that are lying vertically over my knees that stretch as though they've been waiting for me to do that for a long time. I'd always been told to stand straight up whilst doing this stretch, else risk injury. Well, gee willikers, this is what I've been looking for.
It's not the only stretch that's been helping: I also have to squat as though I'm trying to look into my lowest cupboards (something I've had difficulty with as well over the last year) and to remember to stretch the opposing muscles, too.
It only works if I do it, and well, since I've been making myself do it, my knees have been much happier for it. I'm not totally ignorant of the fact that they'd be even happier if I dropped a few pounds, but that's what this challenge is all about anyway, isn't it?
Yay for happy knees!