It's that time of year again. All of our clients walk through the door complaining of tight hips, low back pain, pain in their mid-back and shoulders, and sore quads. Just coincidence, you say? Nope, it is ski and snowboard season. A time when many of our clients and other active adults that live in the great state of Colorado drive 1-3 hours to their favorite resort, ski or snowboard for 3-6 hours, then immediately get in their cars and sit for the 1-3 hour drive home. This results in every muscle in the hips and back to stiffen up, lactic acid to build, and soreness to set in.
To prevent some of this soreness and stiffness that could lead to chronic pain, I put together a set of stretches that can be done outside, beside a car. Great to do before you settle in for a long drive after skiing or riding, but also great to do after any activity or on long road trips.
Holding on to the car for balance, shift all your weight on to your left leg. Tighten your core, drive your left heel into the ground, and tighten your left buttock. Bring your right foot up towards your butt and grab the top of your foot with your right hand. Keep your tummy tight, gently push the front of your hip forward and use your butt to push your knee backwards. You should feel a stretch in your quad and the front of your hip. Hold for 1-2 minutes and repeat on the opposite side.
From standing position, put your right leg out straight in front of you and push your hips back behind you. Your left knee should be slightly bent. Hinge forward at the hips, keeping a straight back and push your tail bone out till you feel a stretch in your right hamstring. You can flex the right toes toward the shin to increase the stretch. Hold for 1-2 minutes and repeat on the opposite side.
Holding on to the car for balance, cross your right ankle over your left knee and push your hips back. Your left knee should be bent and your weight should be in your left heel. Hinge forward at the hips, keeping your back straight. Push your tailbone out till you feel a stretch in the right hip/butt area. Hold for 1-2 minutes and repeat on the opposite side.
Place both hands on the car and square your hips to the vehicle. Step your right foot back, keeping your hips square, and push the right heel into the ground. Keeping your right heel down, push your hips forward toward the car till you feel a stretch in your right calf. Hold 1-2 minutes and repeat on the opposite side.
Use a pole or a towel for this exercise. Grab the pole above your head, palms facing forward. Tighten your tummy and pull the pole behind your head, squeezing your shoulder blades down and together and opening your chest and the front of your shoulders. Be careful not to arch your back or let your rib cage pop out in the front. Hold 1-2 minutes.
Use a pole or clasp your hands together for this stretch. Grab the pole above your head with palms facing forward. Reach for the sky with your arms, lengthen your spine, plant your heels into the ground, and then slowly start to tip towards your right side. Keep your hips still, don't let them shift to the left. You should feel a stretch in your left side. Hold for 1 minute and repeat on the opposite side.