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functional lower body movements

Life is busy, and we all have the same 24 hours a day, but does each of us maximize that24 hours the same way? Me, I really wish I had more time to dedicate for exercising, stretching, and just for improving my overall health and well-being with mindful movement. I find there are times when I could possibly tackle more than one task at the same time. For example, when I brew coffee in the morning, I'll use the kitchen counter for support while stretching my back, or I'll be using the window ledge to rest my foot up on while stretching my hamstrings while I drink my breakfast smoothie.


My morning routines gave me the idea, since I like spending time in the kitchen while my husband is cooking while we talk story is to create a short sequence utilizing the kitchen counter with functional movements which includes squats, lunges, and heel raises to target primarily the lower body and to improve leg strength, balance, coordination, and agility. Here they are:

  1. Heel Raises with Straight Knees: Stand facing the kitchen counter and use kitchen counter for hand support. With the legs parallel to each other and hip width apart, lower and lift heels. Repeat 10 times.

  2. Heel Raises with Bent Knees: Stand facing the kitchen counter and use kitchen counter for hand support. With the legs parallel to each other and hip width apart, bend the knees, maintaining bent knees throughout the whole exercise; Raise the heels, keeping the heels up while turning the head to look towards the right, turn the head to look towards the left, return head to look straight ahead and lower heels. Repeat 10 times

  3. Running in Place: Stand facing the kitchen counter and use kitchen counter for hand support. With the legs parallel to each other and hip width apart, with one knee bent and the respective side heel raised, while other knee remains fully extended with the foot flat. Raise both heels while straightening both knees, lower while alternating sides of knee bend with heel raise. Repeat 10 times.

  4. Side Lunge: Stand facing the kitchen counter and use kitchen counter for hand support. With the legs parallel to each other and hip width apart, step the right foot to the side while bending the right knee, maintaining a straight left knee. Return to starting position. Step left foot to the side while bending knee to a side lunge. Repeat 10 times.

  5. Lunge Stepping Forward: Stand sideways to the kitchen counter and use the hand closest to the counter for balance and support. With the legs parallel to each other and hip width apart, step the foot furthest from kitchen counter forward into a lunge stance where both knees are bent to a 90-degree angle. Return to starting position. Repeat 10 times, and then change to the other side and repeat.

  6. Lunge Stepping Backwards: Stand sideways to the kitchen counter and use the hand closest to the kitchen counter for balance and support. With the legs parallel to each other and hip width apart, step the foot closest to the kitchen counter backward into a lunge stance so both knees are bent to roughly to a 90-degree angle. Transfer the weight into the front foot (furthest from kitchen counter) while straightening front knee. The leg closest to the kitchen counter will move forward and up to 90-degree angle of bending at the hip and knee. Repeat 10 times and switch sides and repeat.

  7. Squat in a Wide Position: Stand facing the kitchen counter and use both hands for support and balance. Begin standing with the legs wider than shoulder-distance apart and rotated out. Bend both knees hold for a count of three and straighten the legs. Repeat 10 times.

  8. Single Leg Squat: Stand facing kitchen counter and use both hands for balance and support. With the legs parallel to each other and hip width apart and one knee bentwith the respective side heel raised. Begin by bending the support knee, thenstraighten. Repeat 10 times and switch sides.



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