The best things you can do before officially getting out of bed!
I’d like to share with you something that can make your life easier and keep you moving properly for many years to come: Your Daily Wizards.
The Daily Wizards are a simple series of movements that we can do before we get out bed in the morning. This way our body is awake and aware of what it needs to do because we told it what to do before we started our day.
If we look at young children, we see that they just don’t bounce out of bed right away; they go through a series of movements before they get up. Cats and dogs do the same thing. Adults don’t “Wake up before they stand up”, we just stumble around for a while in order to wake up, which of course greatly increases our chances of falling and being in the wrong position throughout the day. How to put the odds back in your favor? Your Daily Wizards.
The Daily Wizards are best done before getting out of bed in the morning (though they can be done anytime). The reason for this is that the body is in sleep mode, and all the switches on your body’s control panel for ‘awake’ mode are off. Here is the scary truth; you can do one of two things: 1. Do your Daily Wizards (or some version of them), and be as awake as you can be when you get up having your body in the safest and most energetic positions, or 2. Wake up and get up with your body in sleep mode and increase your chances for injury and loss of youthful movements!
Let me remind you that we are only discussing what nature already intended for us; we are not wired to get up and stumble into the kitchen for a cup of coffee. Our ancestors never did this, therefore our body isn’t wired to do this. Our ancestors probably did a hundred things before breakfast! So let me share with you a quick version of these Daily Wizards. Use these ideas as a quick guide to get started. The goal is to make you aware that the smallest things make a huge difference. There are many more exercises than those listed here, adjust as need be, and ask your doctor for approval and more ideas! (A great P.T. can help you with this as well!)
The Daily Wizards
- Knee, Hip, and Foot Loosening: (On the back) Pull a knee to your chest and then roll your foot in a circle 10 times. Roll both ways. Then 10 times flexing and pointing foot, and then 10 times flexing and pointing the toes. Switch legs. If you can’t pull in your knees, at least roll your feet around.
- Back Straightening and Arm Lifting: (On the back) Lie on your back without your pillow (if you can safely) and yawn and stretch the arms up over the head. Lift up so much so your back arches. Imitate a child’s or a pets exaggerated yawning. If you’re advanced, put your pillow underneath your middle back to get a real backward arch. Do this 5 times!
- Wake Up Your Feet: (Now sit up for the rest) Sit on the edge of the bed and tap your feet hard on the floor to wake them up! Tap them for no less than 20 seconds.
- Wake Up Your Legs: Sit on the edge of the bed and extend each leg to point in front of you and then back down to the ground, 10 times on each leg (one at a time), trying to tighten your quadriceps (the muscle above your knee).
- Loosen up Your Shoulders, the Back, and Neck: Sitting on the edge of the bed, roll the shoulders forward and backward 10 times, breathing in deeply as you do this, so that the breath goes in deeply as your shoulders lift up. Then gently look behind you, turning your back as far around as it will go, and then turning your head; the rule is back first, head second.
To summarize, we loosen up the hips and feet, then the back by opening up into a deep yawn, to then sitting up, waking up the feet and legs, then the shoulders, back, and neck. This shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes and can start your day of right. Remember, if we don’t actively give ourselves youthful physical habits to do, our lives filled with busy schedules yet poor physical habits will take our freedom of movement away from us. Do your Daily Wizards, and I will see you soon! Blessings from the Wizard!
John Paul Ouvrier, is a fitness trainer who specializes in working with older adults. He is the author of ‘The Wizard of Youth’ series for adults and children, the creator of ‘The Wizard of Youth 4 Kids Board Game’ and the Executive Director of Fitness For Charity. His websites are: http://wizardofyouth.com. & http://fitness4charity.org. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org