By Andrew Merle

If you want to be as healthy as possible, there are no treadmills or weight machines required. Don’t just take my word for it—look to the longest-lived people in the world for proof.

People in the world’s Blue Zones—the places around the world with the highest life expectancy—don’t pump iron, run marathons or join gyms.

Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without even thinking about it. This means that they grow gardens, walk throughout the day, and minimize mechanical conveniences for house and yard work.

In fact, Blue Zones researchers determined that routine natural movement is one of the most impactful ways to increase your life span, and a common habit among the world’s longest-lived populations.

Of course this might not seem realistic in our current knowledge economy, where we’re often tied to a desk and in front of a computer screen all day.

Moving naturally throughout the day might sound pleasant and romantic, but the reality is that 100 years ago only 10% of us had sedentary jobs, whereas today it’s 90%.

However, there are still easy ways to add more movement into your busy lifestyle.

One of the best ways to do this is to use an active mode of transportation. This could mean walking your kids to school, walking or biking to the grocery store, to a friend’s house, or out to dinner. Ideally you could walk or bike to work as well (or walk/bike to the bus or train station, if that’s more feasible).

Research shows that the best work commute you can have is a 15-minute walk each way, but any physical activity built in along your commute is a plus. On the flip side, the daily car commute is the number two thing Americans hate the most on a daily basis, behind only housework (but maybe housework would be more enjoyable if you reminded yourself of the life-extending natural movement involved!).

If active transportation isn’t possible in your community, you can still find time to go out for a walk.

A recent study from the American Cancer Society revealed that walking for six hours per week resulted in a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and cancer than not being active at all. But the research also showed that walking even as little as two hours per week could reduce the risk of disease and help you live longer.

Walking is also great medicine for your mind. A daily walk could reduce the risk of dementia by 40%, according to Anders Hansen, a physician and psychiatry specialist from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

If long walks aren’t your thing, break it up by taking several smaller walks per day instead (five minutes per hour). Make it a point to stand at your desk, or at least get up and move around regularly throughout the day. Get outside at lunch for some fresh air.

The bottom line is that our bodies were designed to move. And that doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym. You don’t need to lift heavy weights or grind through high intensity interval workouts to live a long and healthy life.

Simple, natural movement can be even more impactful. Do as the world’s centenarians do—move naturally.



I am a physiotherapist who has personally experienced the pain as a result of bad posture. I would like to offer you some of the solutions that I and my patients have greatly benefited from.

What is a Winged Scapula?

A Winged Scapula is when the medial (inner) border of the shoulder blade protrudes off the rib cage.

 (… Ideally – it should sit completely flat!)

Winging of the scapula can be observed in:

  • Natural resting posture (static) and/or
  • Certain shoulder movements (dynamic).

It is often one of the causes of shoulder impingement and shoulder blade pain.

What are the causes?

1. Pec minor tightness/over-activity:

Have a look at your posture. Are your shoulders rounding forward?

If they are… I can guaranty that your pec minor muscle will be tight (along with the upper trapezius, levator scapula and biceps). And this is a problem!


Not only will it pull the shoulder blade off the rib cage, it will also place the shoulder blade into an ineffective position.

This will lead to…

2. Serratus anterior weakness/inhibition:

The Serratus anterior is the primary muscle that keeps the scapula flat on the rib cage.

If you do not have control of this muscle, it may result in a winged scapula.

3. Long thoracic nerve palsy:

The Long thoracic nerve supplies the Serratus anterior muscle.

Therefore – any damage to this nerve will result in the inability keep the scapula flat onto the rib cage.

(However… from what I have come across in the clinic, Long thoracic nerve damage is actually very rare!)

Quick tests – “Do I have it?”

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

a) Static test: 

Take a photograph of your back.

Can you see the inner border of the shoulder blade pop out?

b) Dynamic test:

Take a video of yourself performing a push up onto the wall.

Observe for any winging of the scapula during movement.

How to fix a Winged Scapula

Note: All exercises are to designed to be performed pain-free. If you are unsure of anything, please feel free to contact me on the facebook page.

 1. Release the pec minor

The pec minor is actually quite a difficult muscle to stretch properly.

Solution?… Release it!


  • Place massage ball directly underneath of your pec minor.
    • To locate your pec minor, you can see it here.
  • Apply pressure into the ball using your body weight.
  • To increase the release, move your arm around.
  • Hold for 1  minute.
  • Repeat 3 times.

2. Stretches

These tight muscles pull the shoulder blade into a position where the Serratus Anterior muscle is unable to function properly.

(For a more great stretches, check out the post on How to fix Rounded shoulders.)

a) Upper trapezius


  • Hold onto a stationary object at hip level.
    • (You can also use a stretch or resistance band if you have one.)
  • Lean away from that hand to lock the shoulder blade down.
  • Tilt your head in the opposite direction.
    • To increase stretch: Pull the side of your head further using your other hand.
  • Aim to feel a stretch between your shoulder and neck.
  • Hold for at least 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

b) Levator scapula


  • Hold onto a stationary object at hip level.
    • (You can also use a stretch or resistance band if you have one.)
  • Lean away from that hand to lock the shoulder blade down.
  • Tilt your head towards the opposite arm pit.
    • To increase stretch: Pull the side of your head further using your other hand.
  • Aim to feel a stretch between your neck and shoulder blade.
  • Hold for at least 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

c) Pec minor


  • Place your hand on a door frame. (see above)
  • Keep your shoulder blades locked downwards.
  • Lunge forwards.
  • Aim to feel a stretch in the chest area.
    • Make sure that you do not arch your lower back as you push into the wall.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

d) Front shoulder stretch


  • With both hands on a bench behind you, let your body sink down as low as possible. (see above)
  • Keep your shoulder blades squeezed together.
  • Keep your elbows in. Don’t let them flare out.
  • You should feel a stretch at the front of your shoulders.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

3. Wake up your Serratus Anterior!

The Serratus Anterior is the most important muscle in fixing your winged scapula! It keeps your shoulder blade flat on your rib cage!

** Hey you! – Read this! **

In all of the following exercise, it is VITAL that you know how to activate and feelthe serratus anterior muscle working.

Activating the Serratus anterior:


  • Assume the wall plank position.
  • Activate the Serratus anterior. (… Remember this!! I’m going to keep repeating it below.)
    • Tilt the shoulder blades BACKWARDS.
    • Pull your shoulder blades DOWN and AROUND the ribs.
  • Push your forearms into the wall.
  • Aim to feel the contraction in the lower and side region of the scapula.
    • (… This is where the Serratus anterior muscle is!)
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 5 times.
  • Progress this contraction with your arms in different positions to get a good feel of the exercise. (see above)

Once you understand exactly how to ENGAGE the serratus anterior, let’s get started with the exercises!

Note: The below exercises are arranged in order of difficulty. Aim to progress to the next level only when you are ready.

Level 1: Isolate the Serratus anterior. 

a) Rock back


  • Assume the plank position with your knees on the floor.
  • Activate the Serratus Anterior.
  • Push your forearms into the floor.
  • Rock backwards and forwards.
  • Repeat 30 times.

b) Push up plus (wall)


  • Assume the push up position on the wall with your arms straightened.
  • Activate the Serratus anterior.
  • Push your arms into the wall.
  • Whilst keeping your arms completely straight, proceed to protract your shoulder blades.
    • Think of your shoulder blades gliding down and around.
  • Do not round your back.
  • Hold this end position for 5 seconds.
  • Slowly bring your shoulder blades back to the starting neutral position
  • Repeat 30 times.

c) Push up plus (plank position)


  • Assume the plank position on the wall. (see above)
  • Activate the Serratus anterior.
  • Push your forearms into the wall.
  • Whilst keeping your forearms on the wall, proceed to protract your shoulder blades.
    • Think of your shoulder blades gliding down and around.
  • Hold this end position for 5 seconds.
  • Bring shoulder blades back to the starting neutral position
  • Repeat 30 times.


Level 2: Serratus anterior isolation (+ Resistance)

d) Push up plus (with resistance band)


  • Hold onto a resistance band as shown above.
    • (Make sure you choose a resistance you can handle.)
  • Assume the above position on the wall with your arms straightened.
  • Activate the Serratus anterior.
  • Whilst keeping your arms completely straight, proceed to protract your shoulder blades.
  • Hold this end position for 5 seconds.
  • Bring shoulder blades back to the starting neutral position
  • Repeat 30 times.

e) Protraction in lying


  • Lie on your back with your knees bent.
  • Whilst holding onto a weight, lock your arms straight in front of you.
    • Use a weight that you are able to control properly.
  • Activate the Serratus anterior.
  • Push the weight up towards the sky whilst keeping the arm straight.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Repeat 30 times.

Level 3: Serratus anterior activation (+ Shoulder movement)

f) Push up


  • Assume a push up position on the wall.
  • Activate the Serratus anterior THROUGHOUT movement.
  • Perform a push up.
  • Repeat 30 times.

g) Wall slides (with resistance band)


  • Hold onto a resistance band. (see above)
  • Assume the wall plank position.
  • Activate the Serratus anterior THROUGHOUT movement.
  • Slide your forearms up/down the wall.
    • Maintain pressure on the wall through the forearms
  • Repeat 15 times.

h) 1 arm pivot


  • Assume the wall plank position. (see above)
  • Activate the Serratus anterior muscle.
  • Push the forearm (on the side of the winged scapula) into the wall.
  • Whilst keep that arm fixated on the wall, rotate your body away.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Repeat 15 times.

i) Arm raises (with resistance band)


  • Hold onto a resistance band. (as shown above)
  • Activate the Serratus anterior THROUGHOUT movement.
    • Try to push your hands as far away from the body whilst keeping your shoulder blades backdown and around throughout movement.
  • Raise and lower your arms from your side.
  • Repeat 15 times.

Level 4: Weight bear (Both arms)

j) Plank


  • Assume the plank position on the floor. (see above)
  • Activate the Serratus anterior muscle.
  • Push the forearms into the floor.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds.
    • (If you can not hold this with good technique, try to do the exercise with your knees on the floor)
  • Do NOT let your shoulder blades cave in.

k) Push up


  • Assume the push up position on the floor. (see above)
  • Activate the Serratus anterior muscle THROUGHOUT movement.
  • Perform a push up.
  • Do NOT let your shoulder blades cave in.
  • Repeat 10 times.


Level 5: Weight bear (Single arm)

m) Straight arm plank (with pivot)


  • Assume the straight arm plank position. (see above)
  • Activate the Serratus anterior muscle THROUGHOUT exercise.
  • Lean your weight into the hand that is on the side of the winged scapula.
  • Whilst keep that arm fixated on the floor, slowly rotate your body away.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times.

l) Plank (with reach)


  • Assume the plank position. (see above)
  • Activate the Serratus anterior muscle THROUGHOUT exercise.
  • Lean your weight onto the forearm that is on the side of the winged scapula.
  • Whilst keep that arm fixated on the floor, slowly reach forward.
  • Return to starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times.


Now that you know how to engage your Serratus Anterior muscle, it is important that you practice activating it throughout the day.

Keep your shoulder blades tilted backwardsdown and around.


What Came First Poor Posture or Weak Breathing?

Is your poor posture because of the way you breathe? Or does your posture create weak breathing? The YogAlign Core SIP Breath informs your body of how to be in good posture by aligning you from the inside out. Through the practice of The YogAlign Core SIP Breath, one begins to feel experientally how core breathing can create length from the crown of the head to the arches in the feet. It is the crucial connection from the diaphragm to the legs via the psoas that is most important in re-establishing core-centered fluid movements and longevity-boosting extension in the spine.
To practice The YogAlign Core SIP Breath:
1. stand with feet hip distance apart.
2. knees slightly softened
3. let your arms hang by your sides
4. gently press into the floor with feet (notice how your spine responds by elongating) focusing on keeping the lift.
5. pucker your lips as you would if you were going to whistle and slowly breath in through your mouth as if you are sipping through a straw.This inhalation creates an extension in the body, and an engagement of your waist muscles deep in your core. Keep sipping in as you breathe, while you consciously focus on the lengthening of your body that occurs each time you inhale.
When you exhale, practice keeping this length in your spine and waist rather than letting the contraction movements of exhalation shorten your waist or pull your sternum, or breastbone, down.

Food for thought

Are you sitting well? Sitting in the same seat means that the seat cushions mold to your particular shape and became far less supportive over time, but also encourages bad posture habits. It could be that you’re not sitting face on to the TV, so when you’re watching it your body may be turned ever so slightly at an angle. Over an extended time period this will train your body to shape in a particular way, a way that will cause strain and weakness on certain joints and muscles, which can lead to bad posture and in turn will lead to aches and pains. A great  solution to this, is a   cushion with added lumbar back support.

One Last Thing

Also by slouching we are compressing our stomachs and our internal organs, which over time could impede their functions – they are called vital organs for a reason, they are essential for our survival. Coupled with the fact that the joint laxities resulting from creep compromises stability for a substantial time after you have changed position, no wonder we get back pain. This means that if you sit in a slouched posture the spine is more unstable so leaves you at risk of injuring your back even when doing something seemingly innocuous such as picking up that pen off the floor! This type of sitting for long periods I am sure contributes to a large percentage of back problems and is often a big factor in problems that seem to come out of nowhere.

The Age When Your Self-Esteem Peaks Will Pleasantly Surprise You

By Kelly Gonsalves

How will you change over the years as you get older? Past research offers strong evidence that, although there are parts of personalities that stay relatively set throughout our lives, we do in fact experience real character growth over time. The primary way we change is through maturation: All of our more pro-social, positive traits (things like conscientiousness and social skills) tend to increase as we get older, whereas many of our more negative traits (things like impulsiveness and anxiousness) tend to decrease.

And now, a particularly sunny new study just revealed one area of ours that will likely continue to grow through most of our lives: our self-esteem.

The paper, recently published in the journal Psychological Bulletin, found that people’s self-esteem actually peaks at age 60. That’s a delightfully uplifting revelation—it means that we’ll spend the majority of our lives with our love for ourselves continuing to grow year after year. The study, which was actually a meta-analysis of 331 different studies looking at data from a total of 164,868 participants, found people’s confidence grew steadily (with a brief pause during the teen years, understandably so) until they reached about 60 years old. They then tended to spend the next 10 years riding that self-love high before seeing a slight decrease from ages 70 on.

For young people currently struggling with learning to see their own worth—and even for those who already value themselves highly—these findings offer hope that there’s only upward and onward from here. Not only does aging bring us wisdom and emotional maturity from years of experience, but it also nurtures a unique, natural sense of self-love.

Part of the explanation might be that, as you get older, a lot of the material concerns that absorb us in our younger years start to lose some of their weight. It becomes a lot easier to accept yourself for who you are when you no longer have to bend over backward to conform to societal expectations of beauty, performance, success, and other such things. We can think of people who push past 100 years old to further understand this change in mindset, says gynecologist Christine Northrup, M.D.

“Healthy centenarians all share the same characteristics,” Dr. Northrup wrote on mindbodygreen. “They are future-oriented and are rebels who have very often been black sheep all of their lives—surviving and thriving despite the same losses and challenges that everyone on the planet also goes through. Healthy centenarians do not identify with their wounds or with what society (or their families) expect them to do or be ‘at their age.'”

So rejoice as the years go by: They likely will only get better, and so will your sense of self.

Zafu or Bench? How Yoga’s Vayus Can Make or Break Your Meditation

by Charlotte Bell

In the early 1990s, when I was just a few years into vipassana meditation practice, I sat a 10-day silent retreat. It was my fourth such retreat, so I knew that physical discomfort would visit from time to time, especially in the first few days.

On every retreat up until that point, I’d experienced physical pain in my shoulders and back—a deep pain that was absent in my daily life. I knew my knees would tire, and I’d feel both sleepy and restless at times. But on this particular retreat, there was an inexplicable agitation I couldn’t place. I felt jittery and ungrounded, and wanted nothing more than to jump off my meditation bench and run out of the room.

After a few days, in the middle of a 45-minute sitting, without thinking, I suddenly pulled my bench out from under me and sat cross-legged on the floor. Immediately, the agitation subsided. I felt grounded and peaceful. I sat on the floor—on a zafu—for the rest of the retreat.

It took me a while to figure out what had happened. It turns out that my position on the meditation bench was going against the vayu that was dominant in my body at the time.


Here’s a description of the vayus from Yoga International:

“The yoga tradition describes five movements or functions of prana known as the vayus (literally “winds”)—prana vayu (not to be confused with the undivided master prana), apana vayu, samana vayu, udana vayu, and vyana vayu. These five vayus govern different areas of the body and different physical and subtle activities. When they’re functioning harmoniously, they assure the health and vitality of the body and mind, allowing us to enjoy our unique talents and live life with meaning and purpose.”

Here’s a quick look at where the vayus are located and what areas of our physical/mental/emotional bodies each governs:

  1. Prana: Chest, head. Governs intake, inspiration, propulsion, forward momentum
  2. Apana: Pelvis. Governs elimination, downward and outward movement
  3. Samana: Navel. Governs assimilation, discernment, inner absorption, consolidation
  4. Udana: Throat. Governs growth, speech, expression, ascension, upward movement
  5. Vyana: Whole body. Governs circulation on all levels, expansiveness, pervasiveness


The day I started feeling the strange agitation on the meditation retreat happened to be the day I started my period. According to the vayus, apana (downward-flowing) energy is dominant at that time because apana governs elimination. For some people—including me—sitting on a meditation bench promotes an upward flow of energy. So when I sat on the bench on retreat during that time of my moon cycle, the upward-flowing energy from sitting on the bench was in conflict with the downward-flowing energy of being on my period. As soon as I sat on the floor, I became more grounded and harmonized as apana energy was able to flow without disruption.

There are many anatomical reasons to choose one form of sitting support over another. But the retreat taught me that I also need to consider energy flow.

For example, if sleepiness is one of your challenges in meditation, a meditation bench might help you raise your energy level. If restlessness is more common for you, a Zafu, V-Shaped Cushion or Zen Pillow might be a better choice. Of course, different vayus dominate at different times, so it could be helpful to have more than one choice.

Overall, I’ve found the V-Shaped Cushion to be the best fit for my body, both anatomically and energetically. But of course, we’re all different, so it’s important to try out different options to see what works best for you at a given time.

For more detailed info on the vayus and how to work with them in your asana practice, visit this post.

Always Be Moving ~ A morning run or evening Spin class may feel great, but if the rest of your day involves sitting on your ass, a brief burst does little for your overall well-being.

Yoga for First Responders

By Heidi Wiegand, NRP

When most people hear “yoga,” they have one of a few responses: “Yoga is for girls,” “I’m not flexible,” “I don’t know how to relax,” “I’m too overweight,” “You won’t see me in a pair of yoga pants!” I thought a lot of the same things. But after six years of training, I’ve learned yoga is so much more than I could have imagined.

The first time someone told me to try yoga, I laughed. I’m your typical adrenaline junkie—I’ve been in EMS for 25 years. I thrive off the rush you get going to emergencies, the thrill of the fast-paced thinking in touchy situations, the high you feel during and after a bad call.

But I’m also a runner, which has resulted in frequent injuries. Following my initial skepticism I decided that if yoga could help me get back to running, I’d try it.

It wasn’t enjoyable for me at first. The practice made me slow down and challenged me physically and mentally in ways I hadn’t been challenged before. Yet I forced myself go back. And while initially it was a way to get me back to running, I soon found yoga was actually changing my life.

Calm in the Storm

The focused practice of yoga goes biologically deeper than just stretching and relaxing. Yoga taps into your nervous system by focusing on mindful, purposeful breathing. After years of compassion fatigue and secondary trauma from my career, it felt as if my nervous system was about to break. Yoga helped bring calm to my storm.

First responders live in a state of hypervigilance. We’re taught to be constantly aware of our surroundings. We are extraordinarily alert, perceptive, and active, and make split-second life-or-death decisions daily.

EMS providers also see more illness, pain, death, violence, and destruction in one shift than the average person sees in a lifetime. As soon as we start out on a call, our sympathetic nervous system is activated. Our heart rate increases, our blood pressure rises, we begin to sweat, our digestive system slows, and stress hormones flood the bloodstream. These hormones are necessary to perform under stress, but if they are released constantly without allowing time for our system to return to homeostasis, we may begin to show a decrease in compassion and increases in  illness, cardiovascular disease, insomnia, and depression. Eventually these physical and mental symptoms can develop into post-traumatic stress.

What if there were a way to proactively teach our bodies to maintain a calm and focused state during these stressful circumstances?

Features of Yoga for EMS

There are many opportunities for EMS providers to practice yoga: at the gym, in a studio, at home, or even at work.  One of these programs, Yoga for First Responders (YFFR), builds resiliency through somatic and cognitive exercises within the foundation of the yoga philosophy. It uses techniques geared specifically for first responders as a tool for stress management.

YFFR focuses on tactical breathing techniques that open the door to access the nervous system. Physical drills are added along with mindful, conscious breathing for releasing stress and building mental and physical stability. Using these techniques, along with cognitive behavioral therapy, changes the mind-set surrounding stressful circumstances.

Designing a yoga program for first responders speaks directly to our needs and supports the skills we require daily. “Prayer hands,” chanting, music and Sanskrit (the classic Indian language used in yoga postures), while often components of other yoga disciplines, are not features of this program. It offers a choice of various poses.

By practicing tactical breathing while in a physical posture and using a technique to mentally reframe your experience, your brain will develop a memory of it and tuck it into a subconscious “file folder” to use later. Continued practice will make it an automatic reset for your nervous system to fall back on after stressful calls.

There really can be a calm in your storm. It’s up to you to take a chance and try it.

Sidebar: 5 Yoga Strategies

Olivia Kvitne, founder and director of YFFR, and a featured speaker at EMS World Expo 2018, offers these yoga tips for EMS providers:

1) It takes just three minutes of mindful breath work to effectively calm the nervous system.

2) If an overwhelming sensation begins to take hold, try this: Begin to breathe through the nose rather than the mouth. Drop the breath down low into the belly. Extend the exhale longer than the inhale.

3) When you begin your yoga practice, there’s often an expectation to feel relaxed, peaceful, or at ease. You may not, and that’s OK. Release those expectations.

4) Move first thing. Simple movements, coupled with breath and an empowering affirmation, can set the tone for your entire day.

5) If you experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress or vicarious traumatization, look for a yoga class taught by a teacher trained in trauma-sensitive yoga.

—Source: Yoga Journal,

Heidi Wiegand, NRP, is an active paramedic and team leader with McCandless Franklin Park Ambulance Authority in Pennsylvania. She earned her yoga teaching certification in 2016, teaches power vinyasa flow yoga, and is an ambassador for Yoga for First Responders.

The 11 Moves That Help Athletes Get Better with Age

Stay in the game longer and stronger with a solid prehab routine, and go harder with a smart recovery routine by Nick Heil

Among the most important things an athlete can do to preserve fitness for years to come is avoid injuries. Sprains, tears, and broken bones can resurface as nagging aches or weaknesses as you get older, preventing you from pushing yourself with the kind of high-intensity interval training that’s so important for older athletes. Enter prehab, pre-exercise routines that prepare your body for the loads and stresses of a workout or race while also helping stave off injury.

“It’s a daily evaluation tool,” says Eric Dannenberg, performance manager at Exos in Phoenix, “a way to make sure you can perform movements before you load your muscles.”

Dannenberg recommends doing each of the following five exercises before every hard workout. They’ll add about seven minutes of warm-up, but the payoff will be huge when it comes to longevity in your sport. “Greatness isn’t one game or race,” says Dannenberg. “It’s consistency of habits over many years.”

The Five Exercises You Should Do Before Every Hard Workout

Half Turkish Get-Up (unweighted)

(Todd Detwiler)

Lie on your back, right leg extended, left leg bent so your foot is flat on the ground. Use your right arm to prop yourself into an upright seated position, with your right arm straight and your left elbow resting on your left knee. Push through the ground with your left heel to raise your hips toward the sky. As you do, raise your left arm so that it points at the ceiling. Repeat by lowering your butt to the ground, returning your left arm to your knee, and driving your hips and arm back toward the ceiling.

Bear Crawl

(Todd Detwiler)

On all fours, crawl forward ten steps, moving your opposing hands and legs forward at the same time. Stay low, with your back straight and your knees just a couple of inches off the floor. Finish by crawling backward the same distance.

Lunge with Twist

(Todd Detwiler)

Step forward in a deep lunge. Plant both hands on the floor inside your forward foot. Keep your back leg straight. Raise your inside hand toward the ceiling so your torso twists upward. Plant your raised hand on the outside of your forward foot and straighten your forward leg to achieve a deep stretch in your hamstring. Finish by returning to the standing position, feet together. Repeat on the opposite side. Alternate for six total reps.

Bodyweight Squat

(Todd Detwiler)

With feet a little more than shoulder width apart, lower your butt down and back as deeply as you can without rounding your back. Keep heels grounded. As you move down, raise your arms so they extend straight in front of you. Your knees should stay over your toes. Keep your head up and your chest out. Do six reps.

Pogo Jump

(Todd Detwiler)

Bounce on both feet in a full upright position, as if you’re on a pogo stick. Continue for 15 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds. Do two sets, adding height or speed to make it more challenging.

The Six Exercises You Should Do After Every Workout

Superstuds like Ned Overend don’t get that way by charging relentlessly through middle age. They understand that at least half the game involves recovering properly, which allows for consistent hard efforts without the detrimental effects of overtraining. A nutrient-rich, plant-heavy diet and lots of sleep are essential, but a recovery plan that includes daily breathing exercises, foam rolling, and mobility work will help you rebound even faster.

“A lot of top athletes come in wanting to improve their movement and speed, but their nervous system is out of whack or they’re broken down,” says Miguel Aragoncillo, a strength coach at Cressy Sports Performance in Hudson, Massachusetts. “There are techniques to help you regenerate between workouts and correct the problems.” Here are six of Aragoncillo’s favorite recovery exercises. Do them immediately following a workout, in the evening before bed, or during a rest day.

90-90 Hip Lift

(Todd Detwiler)

Lie on your back with your feet on a wall, knees bent at 90 degrees. Place a ball or foam roller between your knees. Tilt your pelvis slightly forward. Squeeze the ball or roller, and lift your tailbone a couple of inches off the floor. Repeat five times.

Payoffs: Improved posture; pelvic alignment

Deep Exhale

(Todd Detwiler)

Lie flat on your back. Breathe in deeply using your diaphragm. (Your belly should rise and fall rather than your chest.) Exhale as deeply as possible, holding at the end for a few seconds. Repeat for five breaths.

Payoffs: Deeper sleep; relaxation

All-Fours Belly Lift

(Todd Detwiler)

Get down on your hands and knees and draw in your breath, pulling from the front of your stomach toward your spine. Round your back, breathing into the stretch. Repeat five times.

Payoff: Improved breathing

Plantar Fascia

(Todd Detwiler)

Roll a small, firm ball under the arch of your foot, applying pressure as needed. Hold it against sore spots for several seconds as tolerable.

Payoff: Foot mobility


(Todd Detwiler)

Lie on your stomach. Place a foam roller under the inside of your upper leg. Roll back and forth, from groin to knee, gradually lowering your body weight onto muscles and soft tissue.

Payoffs: Balanced running mechanics; increased blood flow

Hip Flexor

(Todd Detwiler)

On your stomach, place a ball just below your hip bone. Lower your weight onto the ball and roll it around that zone. Hold the ball against sore spots for several seconds

Payoff: Hip mobility