3 Stretches You Should Do Each Morning

In my last post, I talked about the importance of creating a strong morning routine. Stretching is a perfect addition to any morning because it helps to increase your alertness and blood flow, decrease aches and pains, increase your energy, and it’s  even been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease by making your blood arteries more flexible.

These are my top 3 morning stretches.

FORWARD FOLD. Your lower back, hips and hamstrings will thank you for this yoga-inspired stretch.

DO IT: If your back is healthy, stand with your feet hip width apart then engage your glutes and abs as you slowly reach for the ground. Bend your knees as necessary. If you need more support and control, sit on the floor and reach forward towards your shins or feet. You can also sit with your back against a wall or use a strap if you need more assistance maintaining the position. Be sure to hinge from your waist instead of simply rounding your back over.

CAT/COW. Just about everything we do is in front of us so it’s good to include movements that open and stretch the front of the body, too.

DO IT: Kneel on all fours, or stand and place your hands on your bed or dresser. Keeping your shoulders down away from your ears, gently alternate rounding and then swaying your back to open your chest. Extend the movement all the way from your head to your tailbone to mobilize your spine as possible.

SIDE BENDS. Stretching the sides of your body can help to bring balance by lengthening the muscles between your ribs (intercostals), as well as your abs, hips and thighs. This can improve your breathing and your digestion, as well as relieve muscle tension in your neck and improve your posture.

DO IT: Sit comfortably on the side of the bed or on the floor. Inhale and raise one arm up above your head beside your ear. As you exhale, keep that arm up as you slide the opposite hand out along the floor or bed and gently lean to to side. Don’t let your buttocks come up as you lean.

Our signature WFF Mobility Drill is a great way to get your morning going, or to add to your exercise warm up. Check it out here .

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Tami is the owner of Wildfire Fitness in Portland, OR. When she’s not helping people live fit, she enjoys sci-fi, growing orchids and doing burpees.

Water Alarms by Tami from Wildfire Fitness

You’ve heard it before. You know you need to do it.

Drink more water!

But, you’re super busy and your days get long and you simply forget. Next thing you know, it’s bed time, and the last thing you need to do is chug a gallon of water so that you stay up all night going to the bathroom.

So how do you keep yourself hydrated like a boss? Set alarms! Use your phone, computer or tablet to remind you to drink up. Just be sure it’s the device you have nearest to you the most (so you see and/or hear the alarms), then set them to remind you to drink a couple of cups every two hours or so. Start early by drinking a cup or two of lemon or apple cider vinegar-infused water as soon as you get up as a simple way to set your intention on making healthier choices for the day. If you start hydrating at 7 AM for instance, you’ll have twelve cups of water down by the end of the day at five.

I’ll talk more about starting your day strong next time. Until then, visit me on Instagram and check out my post showing how I like to hydrate with Fire Brew in the morning. Then, leave a comment and share how you’re keeping on track and reminding yourself to drink your water throughout the day.

In good heath,  Tami

Tami is the owner of Wildfire Fitness in Portland, OR. When she’s not helping people live fit, she enjoys sci-fi, growing orchids and doing burpees.  She’ll be writing a fitness column here on our site every couple of weeks so check back and see what Tami has to say!

What is a health tonic?

I often get a lot of questions about what fire cider is and my response is that it’s a kind of health tonic.  But what exactly is a health tonic and why is it good for us?

As with many things in the health world, taking a step back and observing how our ancestors did things can be invaluable. Simple, minimally processed, raw ingredients — ones that are selected for their natural health benefits, not the many altered, unnatural ingredients in today’s marketplace — have been used since the beginning of time to keep the mind and body strong.  It is only with the advent of modern medicine and our migration to an on-demand society that “ancient” natural remedies fell by the wayside to make room for quick fixes to take our pain away.

Health tonics are antithetical to highly processed panaceas prescribed and sold over the counter.  They are designed to be natural antidotes that promote vitality and wellness (especially as we age) and are meant to heal, restore and strengthen our internal systems day in and day out.  The changes in our health are subtle when we take them…we simply feel better and, sometimes, we’re not sure exactly why.

Think of a health tonic as the equivalent to your daily visit to the gym.   Both require long-term vision and commitment to stay the course but the payoffs are tremendous.  After all, what could be more important than being vigilant about your health (from a mind, body, spirit standpoint) in order to live your life to its highest potential?

Enjoy your August!