June 24th, 2009

Laying in bed day after day takes its toll-both physically and emotionally. It is essential to keep your body and mind active to stave off the negative effects of bed rest such as muscle atrophy, de-conditioning, anxiety and depression. In this post I’ll review a short stretching series designed to activate all the muscles of the body. This series can be done sitting up or lying on your left side. Check with your doctor or midwife before performing any exercise program. If any exercise is painful or uncomfortable, don’t do it.304473-111890

To begin, get comfortable and take 3 deep cleansing breaths. After the third breath, squinch up your face; squeezing your eyes shut, cinching your lips shut and drawing them up to your nose. Hold for 1-2 seconds. Now really stretch your face wide; with wide eyes and a wide open mouth. You may yawn and that’s good. Take a wide open mouthed deep breath.

Next, drop your chin to your chest and rotate your head from shoulder in front of you, stretching the muscles of your neck. Repeat this motion 10 times.

Now shrug your shoulders up by your ears. Hold 1-2 seconds and release. Repeat this 3 times and then roll your shoulders backwards 5 times.

Stretch the muscles of your chest and upper back. Start by pulling your shoulder blades back as tight as possible, forcing your breasts forward. Now round your shoulders forward, crossing your arms in front of you and grasping your shoulders with the opposite hands.

Slowly bring your knees as far up towards your chest as possible (And this won’t be far if you’re far along in your pregnancy!). Gently grasp your knees with your hands. Hold for 3 seconds. Now release and fully extend your entire body, arms over head and feet stretching in the opposite direction. If you’d like, clasp your hands over your head. Hold for 5 seconds and release. Repeat this stretch 3-5 times.

Extend your legs pointing your toes, contracting all the muscles in your legs. Now flex your toes again contracting all the muscles in your legs. Repeat this exercise 10 times.

To keep your muscles stimulated and your circulation flowing, repeat the entire sequence every couple of hours while awake.

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