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Simple Steps to a Healthier New Year
by Mary Francis Hoffman PHD, REACE, RSME

At the beginning of every New Year often times we make resolutions to improve ourselves in one way or another. Taking a look at your plan for a healthier you starts with evaluating what you do right now to maintain your health?

As winter roars in New Town it is harder to get outside and walk. (Any one else notice the wind:::) Some of us might replace a much needed exercise program with sitting on the couch with a hot cup of cocoa. I for one love sitting by the fire with a good book in hand and a cup of Java.

Generally exercise can start to appear on the "some day isle" list. You know, someday I will do this or someday I will do that. So with that said I would like to mention a simple technique you can do in your own living room in front of the fire.

I went to a seminar and learned a fascinating technique, Release and Mobilize. Easy to learn and highly effective this can be a great addition to your plan to keep moving this winter. All you need is two tennis balls.

I have several clients at my office that will attest to the fact that this is extremely beneficial. Both clients have struggled with sciatica pain. One of them used to suffer with restricted walking ability because the pain was so intense.

I showed them the techniques using a tennis ball and they are both pain free and walking for longer periods. This is also really good for plantar faciatis. I suspect your wondering what is this technique? The release and mobilize technique is done standing, sitting and lying on your back. The tennis ball is used to release various muscle groups. The body's weight is used to work the tennis ball deep into a "trigger point"-an area of the body that may be locked in painful tightness.

The long and short of it is simply the connective tissue of your body is released and easier fluid movement is restored. Your connective tissue is everywhere and holds your muscles in place. This tissue is kind of like a glove. Habitual movement patterns and lack of stretching often times contributes to the feeling of stuck ness in the connective tissues. We often think our hamstrings are tight when in fact releasing the connective tissue that supports this muscle can add a dimension of flexibility and length to the hamstring in question. Another important fact this tissue needs fluid to keep it supple. So drinking plenty of water even when it is cold outside is another thing to consider this winter.

There are many benefits to this practice. Using the tennis ball on the feet creates an awareness of grounded ness. Using the tennis ball on the gluteal muscles eases low-back pain. Tight stiff hips relax when the tennis ball is placed against the hamstring muscles.

There are several other ways to use this amazing simple technique. So If your interested in learning this technique, come to a yoga class in the months of January or February to the Monday evening Beginner Yoga class, 6:30 p.m. at the Annex. I will be teaching this to everyone who wants to learn. Mary Francis Hoffman PHD, REACE, RSME or call today for a private personal fitness session 314-443-0206.


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