Brother we can’t quit until we get our share

This post has nothing to do with health and fitness. It has everything to do with loving our fellow human being no matter who they are.

I’m lost. I’m consumed by emotion that I can’t really deal with in that I’m overwhelmed by it. It started with what happened in Central park. A white woman knowing the privilege she held in her hand. Unable to deal with confrontation in the form of someone, a black man, telling her that she was breaking the law by not having her dog on a leash she did what she does best. She played the helpless white woman card and called 911 explaining that a black man is threatening her and her dog. You could tell she was well aware of the power she held in her hands, She knew what the outcome would be, the police siding with her and the black man arrested. And to add to it she was sure to use her hysterical voice, rising up a couple of octaves, reeking of fear that she was about to lose her life as the black man stood 20 feet away from her. She tried to ruin a man’s life because she could not handle a black man telling her she was in the wrong. And fortunately, luckily, this was recorded and when the recording went viral she then cried that her life is in ruins. How hypocritical that she is upset that her life is in ruins as she tried to ruin someone else’s life by lying. Just to get her way. She was willing to ruin someone’s life just to get her way, because she would not have a black man tell her she was in the wrong.

And then On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, an African-American man, died in Powderhorn, a neighborhood south of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. While Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on a city street during an arrest, Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, kept his knee on the right side of Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds; 2 minutes and 53 seconds of which occurred after Floyd became unresponsive. I watched the video of this and I wish I hadn’t. I had to. I’m not sure why but I had to watch it, maybe so I could understand what happened, so I could see what happened so when the reports of him resisting would undoubtedly come out I would know what really happened. I wish I didn’t watch it. At first seeing George restrained I thought this is not unusual in the sense of keeping someone contained. I watched and waited for the scene to change, for Derek Chauvin to pick him up and put him in the cruiser. He never did. He just kneeled there, keeping his knee buried into George’s neck. George kept saying he can’t breathe. I could see a white coating on the outer part of his lips and I started to panic a bit, I really started to get scared. And then George cried out for his mom, ‘Mom, help me’ and I lost it. I cried and I cried. A 46 year old man crying out for his mom. And nothing changed. Nothing.

Derek Chauvin kept the same posture, ensuring his knee kept burrowing into George’s neck. Minutes went by as George laid lifeless. People yelling to take his pulse, to get off his neck, that he can’t breath but Officer Tou Thao would have nothing of that: ‘Hey, back on the sidewalk’ he would yell as someone would go on the road to help. And then he died. And then later the ambulance showed up. They dragged his body onto the gurney and loaded it in. That’s it. Just like another day. No one batted an eye. No one really cared.

So I get it. I do. I get the protesting, I get the rioting. If no one listens after you walk down the streets of Selma-to-Montgomery 60 years ago asking for the same rights as other humans that happen to be white then I get it. When after the LA riots following the acquittal of the officers that beat Rodney King nearly to his death I thought things would change. People talked about stopping racism. Police departments, governments talked about reform, about stopping systemic racism and that things would change.

And here we are. 2020. Nothings changed.

Protests. Riots. Talk will be next. Things have to change and it has to start with the top. But after reading his tweets that isn’t going to happen.

But if we change, things will change. Now’s the time to make a change. Do it. Make things change. There are millions of us. We can do this.

 

Darryl

 

When routine bites hard…

If you are sitting for a good portion of the day because your work requires you to, or you find yourself sitting a lot of the days or evenings because ambitions are low, you very well might have tight hip flexors.

What

What are our hip flexors? Hip flexors are muscles at the top of your legs that play a key role in moving your lower body. Walking, bending, kicking, swiveling the hips are done using our hip flexors. If your hip flexors are tight and you make a sudden move, or an explosive move they might stretch too far, or even worse, tear.

How

Getting into the lunge

So how do you know if you have tight hip flexors? Stretching muscles for the sake of stretching is not always a good idea. If your hip flexors are long already, there really is no need to make them longer. The more you know about how your body works the more this makes sense. No one’s body is perfectly balanced but for health and well being this should be a goal. Muscles pull, they don’t push. That is how we move. The muscle that pulls is referred to as the prime mover, or agonist. The bicep is the prime mover when doing bicep curls. The opposite muscle, or the muscle that opposes the movement,  is referred to as the antagonist. In the example of a bicep curl, the tricep is the antagonist. Have you ever seen someone may be at the gym who when standing their arms are always overly bent at the elbows, hands no longer at their sides but near their belly? This is usually because they have paid too much attention to the biceps and not enough to the triceps, the triceps are too long and are not able to pull the lower arm back. This is a case of muscle imbalance.

Let’s get to the test to determine if you have tight hip flexors:

      • You’ll need a table strong enough to support your body weight and ideally high enough to let your feet dangle. Lay down on the table on your back having the underside of your knees at about 2 inches from the edge of the table so your legs can dangle. While laying down, keep your lower back close to the table so your pelvis is at the correct position. Now, bring up one of your knees towards your chest trying to get to 90 – 120 degrees. Keep the other leg relaxed, on the table, aiming for an 80 – 90 degree bend in that knee. If while having the one knee close to your chest at 90 – 120 degrees the other upper leg hasn’t moved, raising off of the table than we are off to a good start. If not, then either your quad or hip flexor is tight. Knowing this, with the leg that is dangling down, straighten it and see if it will now lower down so your upper leg is back on the table while having it relaxed. If the leg lowers without issue, the tightness was in your quad. If the leg doesn’t lower, than it’s your hip flexor. Be sure to do this with both legs.

Stretch

      • Kneeling lunge:
          • Kneel down on one knee. With that leg, the one that has the knee on the ground, keep the knee aligned with the hip, not to the outside or inside, and same with the lower leg, keep everything straight behind the hip. Now with the other leg, keep a 90 degree bend in the leg, and keep it also forward of the hip.
          • Keep the upper body upright, don’t lean forward. Leaning forward changes the position of the hips, pelvis. You can put both hands on your knee and upper leg if you so choose.
          • Now, with the knee that is on the ground, move it back a bit so your the bend in that leg is no longer 90 degrees. Move it back to about 70 – 80 degrees. The tighter your hip flexors are the less you will want to move that knee back. You’ll see when you start the stretch.
          • Now press your hips forward keeping your upper body upright. You should feel this in the upper leg area of the leg that has the knee down. Move your hips until you feel the muscle start to stretch. Hold for 30 – 60 seconds. Now do the other side.
          • While doing the stretch be mindful of the knee on the forward leg. Don’t let the knee overshoot the toes.
          • Do this stretch 30 – 60 seconds, 3 – 4 times on each leg.

Finally

That’s it. This one stretch will help to lengthen your short, tight hip flexors. Remember to push the stretch a little further as you feel the muscles relax, usually at about 30 seconds.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

it feels like yesterday was a year ago

I guess it’s about time I apologize for the titles of my posts. They are not always relevant to the content of the post, sometimes, but not always. When I write, things come from deep within me. I’m not that person who would title a post ‘Grow your arms bigger’, or ‘Strengthen those abs’. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it’s just not me. My blog titles are derived from things I like, sometimes songs, sometimes poetry or quotes from books. The words I use in my titles I find interesting and I hope you do too. I do my best to use keywords for my posts so if you have trouble finding something, I do apologize but also try to look under the keywords that the post should belong to.

Having said that, let’s get to it, shall we?

What

Let’s talk about a stretch, a stretch that most of us get wrong partly because we tend to overdo it. But it’s one of my favorite stretches as it releases tension from a lot of muscles especially our abdominal muscles.

The cobra stretch. Mainly an abdominal stretch but you can also use this to stretch out the anterior neck muscles, shoulders, and chest. If your someone who is hunched over most of the day (now that some of us are working from home and maybe not the best home office setup) then you’ll benefit from this stretch.

How

Laying on the floor legs together and arms out in front of you, raise your upper body up using your hands to support you. Bring your shoulders up, feeling the abs stretch while keeping your hips down on the floor. Ease into it. Don’t rush it by raising yourself up too high. By doing this stretch we are putting our spine into a position that is not neutral so don’t overdo it. Feel the muscles stretch, think of them as they stretch.

Now, while you have your shoulders up off of the floor, think of your chest expanding. You have to think of this to bring out your chest. It won’t feel like a big stretch but you will feel it if you think of your chest as you do it.  Now, bring your head back. You may not realize it but you could be spending a lot of your day with your head tilted forward. This is a great way of releasing the stress that that causes. Again, it won’t be a huge stretch but it’s enough to help negate the forward position your head is in most times.

Hold for no less than 2 minutes. Repeat 3 times with a 1 minute break. I want you to set your timer for this because I know your 2 minutes is not 2 minutes. We all hate stretching and tend to rush it. Set your timer and do the 2 minutes. You’ll feel better for it, I know you will. One more thing, when you are about 30 – 40 seconds into it, feel your muscles relax and extend the stretch a little more and then maybe later a little bit more.

Finally

Take care of yourself and try this to stretch out your abs but to also help relieve some of that stress we accumulate. Put yourself in child’s pose for the 1 minute break in between sets and if done right, you might just find it can loosen up the lower back and help with back pain.

Yours in health,

Darryl