Yom Tov is a very strenuous one for moms. Keep your energy up (and legs pain-free) with these tips.
As Mommies, we yearn for that spiritual inspiration of our youth that prepared us for the Yomim Noraim and Succos. However, we must remember that our role has now changed. It has shifted from one centered around davening in Shul to a role of caring for young ones while our spouses and older children head towards the Bais Knesses. Yes, it is a lofty role indeed. One that is cherished up high beyond measure. It also means the responsibility to take care of your physical health so that you are able to perform this lofty task.
As a physical therapist, my role is to assist women with their physical health, strength and well-being. Around Yom Tov time, I always spend a bit of my treatment sessions geared towards tips and techniques to help prevent the body from aches, pains and injuries while preparing, cooking and cleaning for Yom Tov. Prevention takes thought and a plan of action.
The tasks involved with Yom Tov preparation often times exceed what the body, especially the muscular system, is used to providing. Meaning the demands are exceeding the regular system. When the body is unable to keep up with those demands, the result is pain, weariness, injuries, etc. I will list and explain some action steps below which will enable the body to meet those demands. My hope is that you Mommies find it helpful. My wish for you is that you bentch licht with peace of mind and peace of body.
When You Can, Sit and Cook. Firstly, most of Yom Tov prep involves standing for prolonged periods of time. The primary reason why the veins in the legs (vs. arms) are most commonly affected is due to pressure and gravity. Even those without varicose veins may feel leg achiness with prolonged standing. The walls of the veins stretch with pressure, which causes blood and swelling to pool. Therefore, when possible, please sit! If you must stand, distribute the weight equally between both feet. Most humans tend to bear weight more on one limb than the other. Also, keep a soft bounce in your knees and don’t lock them.
The Right Gear Can Help. In addition, it is beneficial to wear supportive shorts, stocking or socks and a pair of supportive sneakers. (American made sneakers such as brands Brooks, New Balance, Saucony and Asics are best suited for American feet). I know, I know…who has time to go put those on? Yet it is very worthwhile to take those extra few minutes and don the gear. Your back and legs will thank you!
Take a Minute to Stretch. A few good stretches will go a long way to prevent heaviness and achiness.
* One of my favorites is the counter hip hinge stretch: Lay your head on your hands on the counter. Step your feet back, hip width apart, until your legs are about a right angle to your back. Allow your tummy to relax. As you take deep breaths feel your legs and back stretch and lengthen. (For an added full body stretch, stand further back and stretch your hands to the counter).
* A wonderful and very effective stretch is the feet up on a wall yoga pose: Lay on the floor with your bottom on a pillow, rolled towel or a rolled yoga mat. Extend your feet straight up the wall. This pose is great for blood flow.
* (Another good blood flow exercise are calf pumps/heel raises. Do around 20-30 repetitions when at the stove or counter).
Drink! Mommies be smart! Fill your gas tank and keep your engine running as strong as possible throughout the (long) day. Drink water, eat well, wear your sneakers, go outside, talk to friend etc.
May Hashem grant you a wonderful year full of Simcha, Bracha and Hatzlacha!
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