One drawback to the CPAP is that if I move around a lot, it tends to slip off. Not moving much during sleep means I wake up feeling a bit stiff. (I also have some arthritis in my knees, but it’s usually not the knees that are stiff, it’s everything else…..)
So, I usually do 10 minutes or so of stretches I learned in my yoga class. Why do I do this?
- It feels fantastic. Seriously.
- It wakes me up (major muscle movement) in a rather nice way.
- My legs work hard to carry me around all day. This makes them happy. They deserve to be happy. :)
- It helps me maintain enough flexibility that digging the Roomba out from under the couch or pulling weeds in the garden is not difficult.
There are things that are uncomfortable because my belly bulk gets in my way, like tying my shoe while standing with a foot on a step. Flexibility lets me retain other options, like just bending over and tying my shoes, or sitting down and putting my foot on my knee.
Otoh, when my parents were my age, my father couldn’t just bend over and tie/untie his shoes. So he had the opposite problem – he was thin, but less flexible.
What sort of stretches do I do? (Bear with me – the pictures of the leg stretches didn’t turn out. I could re-take them this weekend if I get requests ;)
- Raise one leg straight up, perpendicular to the bed. Let’s say we’re starting with the left leg, so I can give the rest of the directions based on that :) When I first started yoga class I had to support my leg with my hands or with a yoga strap – now I don’t.
- Rotate the left foot around in circles clockwise, 10 times, then the other way 10 times.
- If I feel I could stretch the hamstrings a bit more, I then grab the upraised foot with my left hand to get a better hamstring stretch (left foot with left hand, right foot with right hand).
- Next I relax my left outer hip muscles and let the leg lean toward the left. My yoga instructor’s toe hits the floor when she does this in class. Mine doesn’t. That’s okay.
- Keeping my left leg straight, I move the left foot all the way across my body in an arc, so now the left leg is stretched across my body and my left foot is on the right side of my body.
- My addition: quadriceps stretch. I lay on my side with pillows behind me, lift my left foot up against the pillows, then reach back to grab my left foot with my left hand. If I’m too stiff to do that, I use the yoga strap over my ankle and gently pull the foot up.
- And then…I just stretch anything else that feels like it wants it.
I repeat this with the other leg. I also usually do some shoulder stretches and right and left twists (I do have picture of that :)