Did Yoga Start Drive to Healthier Habits? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 35 Old 07-16-2018, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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Did Yoga Start Drive to Healthier Habits?

At age 60, struck me hard that life is getting towards end. Knew I wanted to be healthier when old, “someday”, due to 20 years in eldercare, seeing many in poor health at end of life.

Some disabilities and misery clearly caused by bad luck or accidents, but many — diabetes, COPD, CHF, possibly even Alzheimers’ and cancers — the result of personal choices and habits. Choices such as eating too much, drinking too many sugar-filled sodas, smoking, lack of exercise, too much sun exposure. I started reading books on longevity.

Awhile back, I’d gone to a hospital fundraiser with health presentations where one doctor told us that 70-year-old tri-athletes had bodies inside like 40 year olds. He’d given us a flyer with his advice towards a healthier old age titled F.A.C.E the Future. That was standing for Flexibility, Aerobics, Carry a load (weight-bearing exercise) and Equilibrium (balance exercise). That flyer on my bathroom counter had been poking at my conscience for over a year.

I’d been to yoga classes, knew I wanted to practice yoga for the flexibility advantage and also knew I wanted to meditate, since reading books about happiness and peace-of-mind indicated big advantages given mentally by meditation. Thought maybe just do a tiny bit to get started.

Realized after reading Dan Harris’s book, 10% HAPPIER, great read on benefits of meditation, that possibly yoga could be used as meditation. Decided to make an easy, short routine and figure out how to build a new morning habit.

Think it was the process of devising a routine with real yoga poses in which each slipped into the next, trying to clear mind while holding poses, that gave me a goal to work towards and the motivation to do it each morning. Once the routine took shape, the motivation to continue was helped by telling friends and family that this was part of my new daily semi-retirement life.

On day, while crouching over to pick up feet of recalcitrant mule — lifting, cleaning, filing hooves is a heavy job — back seized up, could hardly move to get myself home. Could hardly roll out of bed to do yoga next morning. Found books at library with exercises saying if done each day would prevent future back problems. I especially liked a book called THE 7-MINUTE BACK PAIN SOLUTION, as could see how the exercises would fit nicely onto second half of my yoga routine.

Felt rewarded when sister forwarded a yoga routine for back pain control which included those same exercises. I got a book showing correct yoga poses and found back exercises were close to those moves; incorporated into routine, along with affirmations at beginning.

As with most things when loved, I became fanatical about wanting my friends and family to take up this practice. Anyone can do it, is so short, quick, easy! My mother and sisters gamely got down on floor with me during each morning on visits (but none continued with practice on own; I’m still hoping for converts.) Decided best if leave them alone, make a video, they can watch and learn; trust that people will do if feel it improves their lives.

Now when thinking back, remembering what has come since — an easy, almost-fasting day each week (saw on PBS, then read book by Dr. Mosley called FAST DIET); an 8-Minute Balance and Core-Building Exercise Routine devised and done two days weekly (video possibly released next year); this year added a Mon, Wed, Friday high-intensity interval training workout with slow timed jog intervals going up hill; a study of Blue Zones and efforts towards eating plant-based meals — I wonder if it was all started due to the yoga routine with its affirmations at start for better health and strength.

Since that might be true that the yoga will start one on path to healthier living, the video is again attached below. Called 10-Minute Yoga and Back Strengthening Stretches with Meditation, Breathing, Affirmations. Put it into your life and let me know if you suddenly find yourself wanting to live stronger and healthier; if you find yourself changing towards better eating and exercising habits.
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post #2 of 35 Old 08-12-2018, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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Healthy to be Skinny Wiry Old Lady?

Other night after dinner party, friend tells me thinks I need to eat more, gain weight so that if get sick when older will have some reserves. Probably, I think, meaning, “you’d look a lot better if those wrinkles on face and neck were filled in a bit,” which is exactly what I see when look in mirror.

Envy the friends who have smooth skin; remind myself was too much sun exposure as a child. Started heavy sunscreen use at age 35, but too late by then.

Exacerbated now, the old-age, wrinkle problem, by such a lot of weight loss, first when doing two Fast Days a week, during last two years. Now have reduced to one Fast Day each week, called maintenance plan by Dr. Mosley’s FAST DIET book and gained back some weight. I find the plan easy, since includes small breakfast and, for me, small happy-hour style dinner.

Husband and I saw a PBS documentary about benefits of alternate day fasting, I got book at library, was amazed to read studies showing benefits of regular fast days, including improvements in blood pressure, in cholesterol reduction, in lower blood sugars, probably lower risk of cancers due to decreased IGF-1 levels, perhaps even repair of brain cells, at least shown in studies with mice.

Was even more amazed to find that the so-called “fast” included ability to have a very small breakfast and a very small dinner. Decided that with all the possible benefits, it would be crazy not to do such a simple thing. For me, the weight loss not needed, but seemed impossible to stop. I ate more on non-fast days, still getting skinny, older (no stopping that) and wrinkles showing up more. Had read previously that mammals 30% underweight live healthier longer lives. What would it be: wrinkles or healthier longer life? Easy for me to choose.

A year after starting on Fast Days, an article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) mentioned that those health benefits did seem to be real, that people were crankier on fast days, but mentally just as capable.

Another article six months later in WSJ told that eating all food in an 8 to 10 hour window of the day, perhaps 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., seemed to provide some of same benefits, as body perhaps thought starving and needing to re-build so as to be smarter, stronger and faster if experiencing16 hours without food.

Husband had never completely joined the true Fast Days plan, but when reading about having first meal late and dinner early, he decided liked that idea, so he started doing that. I modified my eating to that plan, along with keeping one real Fast Day each week, having just small breakfast and small happy-hour foods on Thursday.

I think today, as walking up hill, that maybe friend is right, maybe could try to at least add some more calories by having a protein drink and handful of nuts each day. When I get the dog’s food prepared each morning, I’ll take the 30 gram Premier Protein drink (found at Costco) out of fridge, pour half into small glass and have with a handful of nuts. Then will have the other half later in mid-afternoon. That way will not overload body with protein, which I think read can be reason for kidney stones.

So much plus and minus information on protein amount needed. Latest study seems to show that over-65 can use more. I’d like if would make my skin stronger, as big white dog has given me a skin-tear on arm again, just by playfully putting her mouth on arm. Plus, Blue Zone centenarians in Loma Linda, CA, are big believers in half-cup of nuts each day.

I sit on highest rock on hill, thinking about new plan, watching as huge truck, tiny in distance, pulls away taking area crops to markets. Decide will accept being skinny, wiry, wrinkled old lady; be grateful is more peaceful at this stage of life to let others be beautiful.

Wonder again if yoga with meditations started the drive to eat healthier, then next started the desire to add 8-minute exercise routine twice a week, then next started motivation to add aerobics workout three times a week. I recall a friend who started doing my yoga with meditation routine just once or twice a week and told me recently about ending a toxic relationship; I’d told her I thought the courage to do that had come from starting the meditation. Am thinking now that maybe meditation done during yoga can be targeted to improving golf game, as goal is to get handicap into teens before reaching age 70. Will report on that progress later in summer!
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Last edited by TaMMa89; 02-09-2020 at 02:39 PM.
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post #3 of 35 Old 09-21-2018, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
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Low-Intensity Interval Training

Nothing gets easier. I feel discouraged on snail’s-pace morning run up hill and across terraces. Proud of self for almost accomplishing 6 months now of added aerobics workout three times a week. Remember article just read called The New Old Age by Sandra Martin (https://thewalrus.ca/the-new-old-age/).

She saying that we need to re-think retirement. Should not expect it to be easy; instead look at it as a challenge to be healthy into advanced old age, taking work and effort similar to that needed in all other phases of life. She even adds (after readers wade through mind-numbing paragraphs about Canadian pension plans) this more interesting part: Doctors suggest, for example, that a cardio workout three times a week is essential if I want to guard against dementia.

I laughed to see that she added, “That’s my idea of torture.” Have to agree completely and wonder how long I will actually keep up this new practice of M-W-F aerobics. Have been fairly successful even with much company here this summer (was ecstatic to have husband’s brother join me on one of the difficult low-intensity interval training workouts, as all younger relatives have always declined the opportunity). Even managed on one pack trip to make the “hike” out include the slow-jog portions, which seemed to be same speed as the preferred stepped up mules’-walking-pace when heading towards home. (We were in a hurry to get out, so told husband would consider the 6-miles to be a 10K run and encouraged him to hustle along.)

I’m now calling the workouts Low-Intensity Interval Training and considering it as beneficial as High-Intensity, since reading in Blue Zones that none of the 100+ year-old people belonged to any sort of gym or regular workout programs, but all lives included a large amount of “low-intensity” movement throughout the day. One woman works in garden four hours a day.

My favorite Blue Zone example is from isle of Sardinia, Italy — only place in world where men outlive women. Is said the town studied is located inland, a very hilly region, where the men follow sheep every day. Being familiar with the dangers that animals get selves into, I’m quite sure that those men break into tiny jogs several times a day when they hear a mama bleating that lamb is in danger, hear a coyote yipping for others to join it, or some other imminent danger in the wilds. (My knowledge based on the intense moments of running that farm kids and I do when finding llamas, calves or goats have escaped their pens; seems inevitable on a farm.)

Since I get mostly computer sitting during day, and extensive research tells us more now about healthy hearts, decided must make mine a regular habit of morning aerobics workout three times a week; with winter coming most likely need more mental effort to accomplish.

I sure welcome other peoples’ comments to make this a conversation about what we are all doing to be healthier as we age and retirement or semi-retirement allows more time for yoga, exercise and aerobics (or even would like to hear from those who have decided to start healthier habits before they get old.) As my friend reminds often, “Be kind...”
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post #4 of 35 Old 10-17-2018, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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Two Songs Make Aerobics Easier

Had no time lately for posts, with training big white dog to e-boundary of yard. Much more complicated setup than expected then instructions called for many short training sessions. Wanted her to be successful so can be out of kennel-run during day with no worry of wandering towards busy road or to neighbors as breed instincts tell her to search out their goats. Think she pretty much gets it now and I’m pleased to see her circling house as I work in office; hope her instincts can re-direct to protecting me and small dog.
Thought as doing morning jog uphill that want to encourage others in their efforts to start an aerobics workout and realize how valuable having two songs are to getting me successfully up the hill. Even if your aerobics workout has to be at a gym, I’m sure that if you use songs to get you through each 4-minute session of high-intensity, you will find being on a treadmill or a spinning bike more pleasant; followed by enjoyable 3-minutes walking for recovery.
Young people, of course, have music coming from phone to ears, so will feel they don’t need my songs, but I will encourage even them to have specific songs that they can use to motivate themselves to do the little push needed to get the aerobics benefit.
For young people, who won’t feel they have time to do the workout on a regular basis (studies show best is 4 segments of jog-4 min., then walk-3 min., so 28 minutes total), I encourage you to at least start and get a feel for it so that when you get older and realize need to be healthier, you will be able to look back and remember that it is possible to do.
I ran when it was popular in college days, pushed myself to do one 10-K race. My sister pushed herself harder and did San Francisco’s Bay-to-Breakers. We both stopped running when work and life got in the way, although I’ve always continued walking big dogs and hiking when possible. It helps now when trying to run again to remember I did this before and tell myself that even though it seems so hard, I know I can do it. (I feel now a tinier jog, gentle on the knees, like a walk except for knees going in round motion, is sufficient and better for joints.)
Back to topic — as I’ve said before, had originally started out the jog portions with Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys, but then found out after going to grand-daughter’s school play and having her teach song to me on a hike that the “snail-mail” song is much better and amusing for the very slow jogging portions of workout.
Found the song on YouTube, love end of first verse, where says, “I put the ‘go’ in escargot”, but turns out grand-daughter taught me the 3rd verse (works very well), so I’ve pasted a link at end of this post for you to hear tune and tell you exactly where to find my verse.
As usual, I adapt songs as best fit my needs, so when doing the snail-paced jog up my hill, I like the words: I’m carrying a letter; a most important letter; a letter that was WRITTEN BY GOD. A bit sacrilegious, but I like feeling that God may have written a letter and I’m supposed to deliver it to someone (or maybe meant for me.) Similar to one of my favorite alternative religion theory books called Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsch; seems no reason that it couldn’t be me carrying a letter.
While doing the 3-minute walk interval after each run part, I think about who today’s letter was for and what message I need to accept or deliver; makes time go by quickly.
Second stanza goes: I’m traveling so fast, I’m sure that your aghast, or at the very least you are agog. Put some laughter in your day by exaggerating your slowness — so long as legs are going in round motion, it counts for me, as I think that is part of body strengthening that will help with balance as we age.
Third stanza, I change a bit to say: I’m the snail in the mail, I will get there without fail, leaving a trail in the dust. Then comes especially good last part as I time it to crest a small hill, with: Delivering an envelope, as fast as any antelope, Onward and Upward I Thrust!
As cresting the hill, my second song comes into play with the fabulous words “Heaven Came Down and Glory Filled My Soul.” That song learned over 50 years ago in youth group at church. Now very appropriate for uplifting spirits when doing something so difficult as the aerobics workout. I love the start of first verse: Oh, what a wonderful, wonderful day…. Then second verse has: Oh, what a tender compassionate friend; perfect to put a smile on my face when picturing an especially beautiful loving friend. (Social support an important element of all Blue Zones.)
That was last week’s Letter from God to share with you. So enjoyable to have it to work on while doing the walk portions of Mon-Wed-Fri. Let me know if I’ve encouraged any of you to start (or even to keep going if started already) an aerobics workout.
For now, hear and learn the Snail-Mail song (my verse starts at 2:00, goes 30 seconds) from this:

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post #5 of 35 Old 12-13-2018, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Death Sharpens Focus

Cougar kills woman jogging on isolated trail in California… memories of headlines come back to me as I slowly jog across rocky trails at top of property.
Big white dog has gone off chasing coyotes; timer goes off to end the jog interval, so I whistle in hopes of bringing dog closer, for both her safety (don’t want coyote pack luring her away) and mine.

Dog always takes her time responding — sometimes I see her white shape a quarter-mile away. Many times I read that Great Pyrenees breed is very independent. Said difficult to train as 5,000 years have been making decisions on own when out with herds of sheep or goats in mountains between France and Spain. I’m learning to see things her way and we make some progress. Perhaps I will have to trust when not coming it means she knows the area is free of predators.

Trail more icy now, my foot slips on a rock and occurs to me that a tumble down the cliffside could kill just as easily. Catching my balance, I think is good reason to keep doing the 8-minute Balance and Core Strengthening Exercise routine twice a week. That tiny workout so short, but so hard to get started on. It has its own song that once started keeps the movement going.

Looking downhill, past field where horses moved out when irrigation water stopped, I remember detouring 3 weeks ago to pick up a rubber water trough to bring down for a lower pasture where mules and llamas were being moved. The beef pasture we call it, empty this year, so grasses growing all summer, dying as frost comes, will give forage to animals for awhile longer; maybe hay will last all winter if start feeding later. Snow is late this year, possibly a benefit of warming climate that I appreciate; although temperatures said to be dropping into teens soon, will make getting out much harder.

I had boosted the heavy tub over the fence and was grateful for both laws of leverage and strength gained by the twice weekly routine. Amused now thinking of area spotted higher on hill which will be perefect for filming the exercise video in the spring when green and made beautiful by blooming yellow sunflowers and purple lupine.

Earlier thoughts while jogging of possible death, not only brought up by cougar sightings but due to several friends’ funerals this summer, parents both in hospital near same time. Started thinking of how to write obituary for mother (does she want me to tell about marching for Equal Rights?) Then came email with obituary from sister that said she’d written as writers’ group assignment; reading about how accomplished she’s been, had made me realize that my life more misadventures than things suitable to tell about, but realized I was very appreciative to have yoga video to carry on a legacy for my nieces and nephews and grandchildren. Makes me think to get the 8mm movies from parents to put onto disk. Always more projects needing time.

An important Blue Zone element is said to be purpose in life — specifically referred to as Plan de Vida in Costa Rica and Ikigai in Okinawa; was found that centenarians in all five Blue Zones have a “reason to wake up in the morning.” Realized during last year that my project is an enjoyable new purpose for my life and hope will help me join that group of healthy centenarians.

The mission of helping people get started toward healthier lifestyles with a yoga video took on a life of its own to help spread the word and encourage others to join my experiment.

Therefore, with death sharpening focus, I think it's time to let people know that next summer they can look forward to having video for 8-Minute Balance and Core Strengthening Routine. Until then, will hope that everyone is enjoying the gorgeous fall weather and getting excited about cross-country ski season, another route to excellent aerobics benefit.

Last edited by TaMMa89; 02-09-2020 at 02:55 PM.
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post #6 of 35 Old 12-13-2018, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by LlamaPacker View Post
Therefore, with death sharpening focus, ...
I've been having death sharpen my focus a few times while riding...
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post #7 of 35 Old 12-23-2018, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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Blue Zones Offer Food Choices

Video of doctor at had to be shared, as he feels like an old friend; sadly, just learned that he died on December 15th at age 104.

I first “met” Dr. Wareham in book called THE BLUE ZONES SOLUTION when he near 100 and said to still be driving miles to assist at heart surgeries twice a week.

Probably should be sure to say I am in no way pushing a vegan lifestyle, his preference, as find that way too difficult. Even in the Blue Zones book, describing the Loma Linda, CA, community of long-lived Seventh-Day Adventists, it tells about studies showing that pescatarians in the community lived longer and healthier lives. (Pescatarians means adding fish to the vegetarian diet.)

The great thing about the other four Blue Zones of the world (those few areas with much higher rates of centenarians) are that they each do include a SMALL amount of meat each week. That seems to be the key: a small amount, about one 4 oz. serving per week.

The community in Nicoya, Costa Rica, has many of my beloved spicy Latin America type foods, including fish, chicken and pork. My favorite community in a mountainous region on isle of Sardinia, Italy, includes red wine (tiny 3 oz. glasses, every 2 hours through late afternoon and evening), sourdough bread and small amount of pork each week, although mostly huge amounts of vegetables in their minestrone soup and lots of walking up and down hills. Something for everyone’s eating style can be found in Blue Zones, as the community of Okinawa includes seafood and tofu in their diet.

Not mentioned in Dr. Wareham’s video — as being a heart surgeon he was clearly passionate about heart health, which to him seems best achieved with vegan diet — are the other common aspects of all five Blue Zones in the world, which are summarized as:
—Move naturally, with lots of walking, household and garden activities
—Have right outlook, including purpose for life and ways to downshift
—Eat wisely, a mostly plant diet; little meat, little sugar and stop eating when 80% full
—Belong to faith-based community, have friends with good health habits and put families first

Dr. Wareham’s video is a good push towards healthier eating habits, although for me has been much harder to change eating habits than start exercise, which is why I’ll continue to call this a lifetime “experiment” and hope to see if even just a few changes, with yoga, can make a difference.
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post #8 of 35 Old 05-11-2019, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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Hillsides Blossom — Help with Aerobics

Snail-paced jog so hard this morning. Only 3x a week. Only 4 minutes for tiny jog, then walk 4 minutes. Timer will let me know. Mind chatters away — tries to convince me probably detrimental to body, as knee hurting, legs threaten to cramp (remind self: drink more water before starting out next time).

I interrupt mind’s chatter by continuing snail song. One verse automatically follows next now. Quite certain would stop this aerobics effort if not a “40-year Experiment”. How will one ever know if practice is working unless keep going?

Tell myself that knees can be repaired — these four tiny run segments important for heart, lungs and brain. Heart, lungs and brain important for better future. (Aerobics is clearly working, as blood pressure and cholesterol had both dropped significantly at annual checkup last fall.)

Finally, the snail song’s 3rd verse reminds me that this is my way of “Leaving a trail in the dust”. I remember Lupines and Balsamroot seen blooming first time last week, white phlox seen now, but flowers fading soon, think will post photo, keeps me going.

Certainly could not keep going except that feet are absolutely required to move in tiny circular motions during the 4-minute snail-song portion; hardly more than a walk, but since body not wanting to do, I’m trusting that it is just enough aerobics for this stage of life; just enough hill climbing to be like the centenarians of Sardinia. That my favorite Blue Zones group with their sourdough bread, hard white cheese and daily small doses of wine.

I was so pleased to have a long-ago friend get in touch to say she is working towards being healthy as ages (being together in the eldercare business may tend to partially motivate us.) Hope others will share how they keep going as we all work towards whatever your goal is!

Find the snail song on my October 17, 2018, post above if you need a way to help yourself keep going. It will have you laughing out loud as you stagger along singing “I’m traveling so fast, I’m sure you are aghast….”
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post #9 of 35 Old 05-15-2019, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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Did Yoga Improve Golf?

Golf game improving. Hope will have first game at one of our big courses in 80s this year. Probably due to fact that I’m hitting 30 balls a day so as to improve short game, but is the discipline to do that coming from the daily yoga practice? That’s what I’m choosing to believe….
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post #10 of 35 Old 08-21-2019, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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Mindfulness. Meditation. Yoga.

These seem to be related to better health, less stress, less anxiety.

My eye falls this morning on book beside bed called AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE, by Ekhart Tolle.

I hope I will encourage some other friend or family member to take a look at their health habits and perhaps initiate change towards better by starting this small yoga routine each day.

Since starting three years ago, I believe the daily 10-minute yoga and back-strengthening routine with meditation, affirmations and breathing, has given me mental strength and discipline needed to start and continue a twice weekly 8-minute balance and core-strengthening routine, to start thrice weekly high-intensity interval aerobics jog/walk, to try eating a more-plants, less-meat, less-alcohol diet, even to hit 32 golf balls for practice starting this year on most mornings with good results starting to show. (I'm lucky that aging brings more flexibility with time....)

Following is List of Poses which can be printed, even laminated. Makes it easier to do routine on own after watching video just a few times to get feeling of how each pose slips gently into the next:

10-Minute Yoga and Back Strengthening Stretches
with Meditation & Breathing

Breathe Good In-In-In, hold at bottom,
then Bad Out-Out-Out, repeat

Clear mind every time it wanders,
focus on feel of breath going in & out

—Salute to Sun w/3 Affirmations: Breathe in while stretch up,
circle arms down saying each, then 90 degree forward bend for back strengthen pose, then to
—Downward Dog
—Infant Pose
—Cat-Cow Poses
—Cobra Pose
—Modified Corpse Pose with side stretch each side, then chest expansion with 90 degree arms on floor to sides while rotating ankles
Back Strengthening starts here while lying on back, next do:
—Belly Twist/Spinal Stretch Pose, knees to side, shoulders stay flat, do each side
—Half Bridge Pose
—Plow Pose, then when legs come down, keep right one up
—Right side: Hamstring stretch — one leg up, pull ankle toward you, push knee away
—Piriformis stretch: Left leg up, right ankle front of knee pull towards you, push other knee away, then right leg down, left leg up for
—Left side: Hamstring stretch (descriptions same as above),
—Piriformis stretch, then both legs down, turn on side legs stretched out for
—Quadriceps stretch, bend top leg back, grab ankle and pull, do both sides, then up on knees for
—Hip Flexor, one leg bent in front, back straight and hips pushed forward, both sides, then stand for
—Side Stretch, both sides
—Arm & Shoulder Stretch, both sides
—Neck-to-Shoulder Stretch, both sides
—Head Roll, both directions
Raise head, open eyes, you are ready to face the day!

Last edited by TaMMa89; 02-09-2020 at 03:03 PM.
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