Before we get any further can we all just agree that shoveling snow sucks and so does having to fire up that walk-behind snowblower?! The shoulders and upper back feel the tension of each of these methods, and depending on your snowblowing device, your lower back may also feel it! 

These stretches (aka. yoga poses) will help to relieve some of that tension and hopefully make you feel just a little less frustrated with all of that white stuff that just keeps coming down....

Eagle Arms Pose                                                                                                                                                    This pose helps to relieve that built up tension in the back of the shoulders and through the tops of the shoulders. Don't fret if you can't get your arms into the exact pose below... any variation will give you that stretch.

Cross one arm over the other at the elbows, bend the bottom arm, if you feel a stretch stop and hold the pose here. To move to the full modification of this pose; bend both arms and take the palms together. Hold as you press the elbows towards the ground. Repeat on other side.

Crescent Lunge                                                                                                                                                 This stretch is perfect for releasing through the hip flexors, where tightness is a common cause of lower back discomfort. 

Step one foot back, lower into a slight lung with the front leg knee directly over the front ankle. Keep the back leg straight and reach the arms up towards the ceiling, coming into a slight back bend. The stretch should be felt in the front of the hip of the back leg. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat on other side.

Side Bend                                                                                                                                                             This stretch is great for stretching through the abdominals and lower back, an area that is commonly used as you twist to throw the snow off of the shovel. 

Stand with feet hip to shoulder width apart. Place one hand on the hip and reach the opposite hand over the head, bending slightly to the side creating space between the ribs and the hip bone. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds then repeat on opposite side.

Forward Fold with Arm twist                                                                                                                          This stretch is great for stretching through the backs of the legs and when adding in the arm twist it also stretches through the biceps, neck and shoulders. 

Stand with feet hip width apart (or slightly wider) bend forward from the waist, keeping a very slight bend in the knees. As you fold forward, take the arms out to a 'T' position and turn the palms towards the sky. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.

Doorway Stretch                                                                                                                                                 This is probably one of my favourite stretches and it can be done in ANY doorway. It stretches through the front of the shoulder, the upper arm and the neck. If you don't try any other stretches you HAVE to try this one. Just do it!

Stand in a doorway and put one arm out at 90 degrees. Press your palm, forearm and elbow against the doorway and twist your chest away from the arm, turning your head away as well. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds then repeat on opposite side.

Hope these stretches help you out! If you are unsure of how to do the stretch properly, stop by during our complimentary trainer time (posted on Facebook weekly).

Happy Shoveling!

Tam

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