Happy Thursday, everyone! I’m sitting here catching up on SNL, and just watched the most ridiculous skit about acupuncture. Since I am currently in treatment, this was HILARIOUS to me because, though I LOVE acupuncture and the amazing things it does for my body, I cannot actually get myself to LOOK at the needles when they are in my skin. Just thinking about it makes me all fainty. I’m a wimp, I know.
This skit is perfectly Kristin Wiig and Jason Sudeikis – they have some of the best comedic timing out there right now. And Kristin’s Chinese accent is spot. on. Ha!
Just watch. Caution: there is fake blood. Lots of fake blood.
Being on SNL is on my bucket list, and I am constantly writing skits in my head. Aaaand now you know what I do with my time.
If you are like me, and most of the world, you sit at a desk all. day. long. Even if you actually read that HR memo about ergonomics and get up every hour to walk around (yea, right in between that staff meeting where someone didn’t say “overarching” and when the free latte cart came by), sitting for 6-8 hours a day – plus the time you put in on the couch – can REALLY take a toll on your body. Especially your lower back. Even if, like me, you are regularly active, that back can still get stiff and sore from so many hours of being sedentary.
Two ways you can make sure you support your back is by having strong abdominals and hamstrings. Today, we are going to focus on hamstrings!
The hamstrings run through the back of each thigh and flex the knee joint and extend the hips. Tightness in the hammies limits motion in the pelvis which can increase stress across the low back and result in poor posture. Short or tight hamstrings are REALLY common unfortunately, and your body compensates for this restriction by increasing pressure on the lower back / lumbar spine. Stretching and strengthening the hamstrings can gradually lengthen them and reduce the stress felt in the lower back.
Isn’t it awesome how the body is connected?! It amazes me every day, especially the more I learn from my Chinese Medicine doctor, Dr. Mary (more on that another post).
There are several exercises you can do for the hamstrings, but my favorite is the Hamstring Curl on the Stability Ball.
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How to do Hamstring Curls on a Stability Ball
1. Lie on your back on a mat, placing the backs of your lower legs and heels on the top of a stability ball. Your feet should be lined up with your hips and your toes pointing toward the ceiling. Contract your core muscles to flatten your low back into the floor.Place arms by your sides or extend out with palms to the floor for more stability.
2. Keeping the core engaged, slowly lift your hips up off the floor while pressing the backs of your lower legs and heels into the ball. Do not overextend the hips so that the low back begins to arch. Continue to press upwards until your body is in a straight line from your heels to your shoulder blades.
3. Slowly bend your knees and pull the ball toward your hips until the soles of the your feet are on top of the ball. The hips will continue to lift as you pull the ball. Keeping your core engaged will help stabilize your body.
4. Slowly press the ball away from you until the knees are straight, stabilizing with the core, hamstrings, glutes and arms. Repeat for 15 reps, then slowly lower hips back to floor and starting position.
Variation: To increase the balance challenge, raise one leg off the ball in the starting position and curl with one leg.
Other great hamstring exercises and stretches:
Do you sit all day at work? How do you break up the day?
What is a show / movie that makes you laugh out loud?