The Morning Ritual (no, not that one)
How do you start your day?
me, and many other like-minded caveman/cavewoman folk, it begins with
preparing the body. Thinking of the body as a machine, an engine that
needs to be warmed up before it can hit the streets, is a good way to
look at it. Growing up in Canada, having to start you car, and let it
warm-up for 20m before driving is a good example of a warm-up. That
said, mornings start with a cold body that needs a little preparation
for the day in order to get stuff going.
I have, and can recommend, four morning 'rituals' that prepare the body for battle.
1) Acquire Range of Motion
joints, tendons, ligaments, nerve tissue, arteries, and fluids like
blood, lymph, enzymes from organs like the liver and pancreas moving
first thing, sets the stage for a healthy machine throughout the day.
After a night of rest, or more like unconscious gymnastics (have you ever seen a video of yourself during sleep?!) the most important thing is to require joint range of motion and get
stuff moving. Have you ever seen what a dog or cat does first thing
after getting up from a nap? Reacquire range. A morning walk with the
dogs, a cup of awesome green tea, and doing these basic movements work for me.
- Straight arm overhead to behind the body (front to back aka sagittal plane)
- Straight arm out to side to overhead (aka frontal plane)
- Straight arm out to side and across middle of body (aka horizontal plane)
- Arm bent at 90 degrees, rotate shoulder up and down (internal/external rotation)
- Arms straight, reach forward with shoulder blades (aka protraction)
- Torso: bend to side, rotate
- Legs: straight, front to back, side to side
How important is joint range? I work with many elderly, and three joint 'things' stand out. The inability to: reach overhead to 180 degrees, turn the palm to face forward, (supinate), and lift the foot toward the shin, (dorsiflex). Lose it or lose it is the theme here and rehearsing/maintaining optimal joint range will keep range for a lifetime. Rehearse full joint range daily.
Breathing Deep and forcing exhalation brings a multitude of benefits to the body: lung expansion, diaphragm strength, oxygen to blood exchange, rib cage expansion, removal of toxins, to name a few. Plus, human tissue and cells LOVE oxygen!
The most efficient detoxification methods for the body begin with breathing, moving fluid, and proper fuel. It's not about a pill, diet of the week, juice, or new plant found deep in the amazon jungle, it's about the skin, the lungs, and digestion. Sweat - Breathe - Eat Right
Detoxification ties in with movement, breathing, and nutrients.
There are herbs and vitamins which aid in the detoxification process, all of which should be discussed with a Dr. of Natural Medicine. Figuring out goals, going over your current state, and where you want to be could involve specific herbal, vitamin, and nutrient additives to your daily regiment.
Removing some of the inflammatory markers and AGE's from the previous night's indulgence sooner than later, is essential and can be done with specific detoxification tactics.
Discussion of Nutrients could go on for days, but in a nutshell, choose meals that contain good sources of protein, fat, and carbohydrates in each, and avoid sugars, grains, preservatives, and funky chemical additives you can't pronounce. Having an optimal running body begins with quality fuel.
There is a ton of info on good eating choices and recipes on my Read page.
Other Good Tips
- Avoid alarms: a raging alarm clock, stress, and excessive caffeine or other red bull like stimulant wreak havoc on a pleasant morning ritual.
- Make time to take care of your body. Getting up a few minutes early avoids rushing and stress.
- Plan what you are going to eat for the day
- Start slow and don't hurt anything!