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Be Still

Psalm 46:10  “Be still, and know that I am God…”

 

We are often so very busy.  All of today’s technology to make things faster and easier really just allows us to pack more “activities” into a day.  Sometimes we forget how to “be still”.  A very wise friend and health professional once told me that most of the time we “create our own stress”.  Boy is that true!  Next time you find yourself venting about all you have to do, stop and make mental note of how much you “created” yourself!  Here are some relaxation exercises to help reduce stress.  They can be done anywhere/ anytime.

  • Deep breathing:  Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest.  Close your eyes and inhale/ exhale slowly and deeply focusing on feeling your belly rise  and fall more than your chest.
  • More deep breathing:  Sit or stand with good posture.  Hold your hands out in front of you about shoulder width apart with your elbows slightly bent.  Breath in slowly as your hands separate.  Exhale slowly as they draw back together pretending there is a magnet force doing so.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation:  This is a great one to do if you can’t sleep!  Start by tensing and relaxing the muscles of your toes and feet and working your way through your entire body up to your facial muscles.  Then, work your way back down to your toes.  When you tense your muscles hold about 5 seconds and then relax for about 20 seconds before moving on to the next muscle group.
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Kicking trigger point pain

Romans 8:18  “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

 

Some day I will no longer have to worry about the aching of this body.  Until that time I need to manage it.  So many suffer from trigger point pain.  Trigger points can be described as those knots or sensitive areas in soft tissue.  It can feel like a nagging ache in a specific area of muscle.  It occurs when there is a lack of blood flow to an area (for a variety of reasons), and there is in turn a lack of oxygen and that area of tissue becomes acidic.  This sets off a cycle of further pain and irritation which can be very difficult to break!  Today I’d like to share some self-management tips on trigger point pain, specifically that of the shoulder and upper back.  First of all warm muscles stretch better than cold muscles.  Work on your trigger points after a vigorous walk or work-out or hot shower.  My “arsenal ” for trigger points can be seen below:  tennis ball,  hook or theracane type massager, and Rapid Fire.IMG_1211

The hook massager is great for reaching those trigger points in your upper back yourself.  You can also self-massage them with a tennis ball placed between your trigger point area and the wall or floor.  I have found Rapid Fire to work really well on trigger points as well, and have fairly long lasting relief.  I have more information about Rapid Fire on my home page.

The next line of defense against trigger points is stretching, posture, and strengthening (strengthening may need to wait until trigger point has calmed down).

STRETCH:

  • Doorway or corner stretch -stand in a doorway or corner with both arms on the wall slightly reaching up, lean forward until you feel a stretch and hold for 30 seconds, repeat 2-3 times
  • Chin tuck -gently push your head straight back as if trying to make a double chin and hold for 5 seconds, repeat 5 times
  •  Neck stretch -sitting upright place both hands behind your low back, gently lean your head to the right until you feel a stretch and hold 30 seconds- repeat 2 times and then repeat on the left side

POSTURE:

  • Shoulder blade squeeze- Stand and squeeze your shoulder blades back and together, hold 5 seconds and repeat 10 times
  • Wall Slide- Stand in a slight squat position with your head, back and arms against a flat wall (arms are up at 90 degrees flush against the wall as you are able – you may have to work into this position over time).  Slide arms slowly up and down the wall trying to maintain contact with the wall and repeat 5-10 times.

STRENGTH:

  • Superman- Lie on your stomach on a firm surface with arms outstretched from your sides (elbows straight and thumbs toward ceiling).  Slowly raise and lower your arms toward the ceiling while trying to maintain your shoulder blades squeezed together.  Repeat 5-10 times slowly.
  • 2 way plank- maintain a plank position (which is also great for your abdominals) while keeping your shoulder blades engaged and steady.  Start where you can 10-20 seconds and work up from there!  The way I like to do this is 30 seconds with straight arm plank, and 30 seconds forearm plank.

Disclaimer:  As always these exercises and self help tips may not be for everyone.  There can be many causes of trigger point pain (body asymmetry, trauma, habitual postures, repetitive injuries, etc).  There is a time when you may need further diagnostics from the health professional of your choice.

Don’t worry be happy

Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

 

Philippians 4:6 was the first bible verse I was challenged to memorize by my dear college friend.  She saw my worry as I struggled with college life and the stress of applying to physical therapy school.  This verse truly helped me, and I eventually realized my worry for what it was:  sin.  Later in my Christian walk I read on and added Philippians 4:7 to my memory and found the “peace of God which transcends all understanding”.  Keep reading friends!  The gospel reveals more and more to us as we continue to grow and learn.  Don’t miss out on the “peace of God”!

 

Take a walk today!  Take a walk with a friend or just with Jesus.  Praise him quietly or out loud.  Walking is such a fantastic way to relieve stress and anxiety.

Garbage in…Garbage out…

Philippians 4:8  “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.”

 

You have heard said, “you are what you eat”, or “garbage in- garbage out”.  Well how about the thoughts we allow in, the music we listen to, the books we read, and the conversations we have.  We need to surround ourselves with the things that are “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable”.  A dear friend once told me she tries to constantly ask herself if what she is doing/ thinking about is “for the Kingdom”.  If our focus is on Kingdom of Christ we cannot go wrong!!

 

Here is another one of my favorite workouts that you can change up daily to target areas you want to work on!

The simple 5 x 5

Choose 5 exercises and perform 5 repetitions of each, repeating the set 5 times through

Example:

1) 5 jumping jacks

2) 5 jump squats

3) 5 burpees

4) 5 mountain climbers

5) 5 push-ups

Repeat this set 5 times through for a quick and great workout!  Replace exercises with different ones to change things up (lunges, high knees, sumo squats, plank jumps, etc)

Alternative to energy drinks

 

I would just like to admit that I love these V8 “Energy” drinks!  If wanting an alternative to soda, coffee, or a typical “energy” drink I would recommend this choice.  They do contain artificial sweetener sucralose, but the caffeine is from green tea.  They offer B Vitamins, Vitamin C, and some varieties offer a serving of vegetable and/or fruit!  I think they taste great too!

Training the temple

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ” Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body.”

In the ancient world temples were the center of society.  In Exodus God gives elaborate and detailed instructions for building the Tabernacle.  It was God’s idea and God’s design.  Temples served as a meeting place between God and man.  In 1 Corinthians God likens our bodies to temples for that reason.  We are God’s idea, God’s design.  We were built for a purpose.  We are given detailed instructions from Him.

We are flooded with information today about what is “good for us”.  Where do we go for truth?  Much of it we have to sift out for ourselves individually as we all have different bodies with different needs.  The bible, however, gives us excellent advice even in the topic of health.

Stress  Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Moderation Galations 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Sprit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.”

Food/ Diet Daniel 1   I am not going to re-write the entire first chapter of Daniel, but read it yourself for insight on how Daniel and his men ate differently then others in training, and had better results.

Attitude/ Emotional health Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Keeping strong physically Isaiah 40:31 “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Keeping strong spiritually  Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”

Just as God had expectations about the building of the tabernacle in Exodus, so does he have expectations about how we treat and care for our “temples” today.

 

 

Proverbs 31

“She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks”  Proverbs 31:17

Happy New Year and happy new blog!  I am setting out to share scripture, my thoughts, and fitness and wellness tips.  Join me on this journey, but as with any new exercise program you may need to consult your health professional first.  The Proverbs 31 woman is a great place to start.  She is much like us in that she has a lot of work to do!  She needs strong arms for her tasks.  We work hard.  We need to be strong!  Our strength, ultimately comes from the Lord.  Just as we strengthen our arms with exercise so that we will be able to pick up children, fold laundry, and carry groceries without injuring ourselves, we must also be fit spiritually.  We must be diligent in exercising our spiritual muscles so that we will not be “injured” by the load the world creates.

 

Arm shape up

  • Shadow box 5 minutes for warm up
  • Bicep curls with soup cans, hand weights, or stretchy band 10x 2 repetitions
  • Upright rows with soup cans, hand weights, or stretchy band 10×2 repetitions
  • Overhead press with soup cans, hand weights 10x 2 repetitions
  • Tricep kickback (one knee on chair/ bench) with soup can, hand weight, or band 10x 2 repetitions
  • towel stretch (hold towel towel to your back with one hand above head and other closer to hip, pull lower arm up gently 30 seconds then pull upper arm down 30 seconds.  Repeat with opposite arms)
  • Gently pull arm across chest to stretch shoulder for 30 seconds, repeat other side