As I grow less young and more solid, desperately trying to keep daily stress abreast, I noticed that my body had lost fluidity and that little aches and pains were more common. This was especially true in winter. My whole body seemed to be holding on to stress in all muscles in a way that it hadn’t before.
My winter physical activities are usually reduced to walking to and from work, living room dancing and functional stair climbing, sprinkled with core building exercises whenever I felt my mid-section growing too mushy. Something was missing to make my days fully pain-free.
A couple of years ago, I got a hold of a DVD of an old PBS Classical Stretch exercise show with Miranda Esmonde-White. Although I loved the concept of bringing energy and flexibility to your body through dynamic stretching, the 1980s leotard and bad image quality lead me to try it just once and move on. Then last year, I read Aging Backwards: 10 Years Younger and 10 Years Lighter in 30 Minutes a Day (no judging) also written by Esmonde-White, presenting the Essentrics method. The e-book format didn’t provide a full idea of the exercises, but those I tried really made my body feel better. I looked for more exercises on YouTube and found some short (5-15 minutes) workout to give me a better idea.
I then came across the 2015 ESSENTRICS The Ultimate Stretch Workouts video which I love. It includes four 15-minute workout (the maximum amount of exercise I think I can do on weekday evenings) covering posture improvement, full leg stretches and shoulder pain and tension release. These feel so good that I often pile them on to complete 30-45 minute workouts. When I feel more energized, I can also look to the two 30-minute workouts (muscle activation or release).
The Essentrics website offers many different DVDs. Be careful though, sometimes the routines are the same but done by two different people, and some abdominal exercises are advanced enough to injure without proper practice. You can also subscribe for $15 per month to online stream the routines but I’ve yet to try this format.
For those who prefer in-class sessions, Essentrics is also offered in many cities in the United States and Canada, particularly in Montreal where Miranda is based. Figure skating and hockey lovers might also enjoy knowing that Joannie Rochette and the Montreal Canadiens are some of the many athletes who have benefited from Ms. Esmonde-White’s technique (French article).
Any other recommendations?