Capital City Carvers

September 2021

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2. Again, holding the hands together in front of the chest, but this time in an attitude of prayer, push with the lingers of just one hand so that the fingers of the other hand are stretched backwards. Don't push harder than is comfortable. Change direction. Start off with a small range of movement, then each time you change from one direction to the other, gradually increase the amount of pressure being applied.
3. An easy yet effective exercise is to grasp something like a tennis ball and alternately squeeze and relax, squeeze and relax, and so on. Count for about 10 to 20 repetitions, then change hands.
4. Similarly, squeeze the tennis ball tightly and count to 20, relax, repeat 2-3 times then change hands.

Sitting and standing can be a challenge. Most of the chairs we sit in are not designed to align our bodies in a good posture. A good posture means keeping the head, shoulders and pelvis in a relatively straight line. When sitting, try to sit "cheek to cheek" using the Sit bones. These are the lowest part of the pelvis, technically called the Ischium. Still confused? Think of the back pockets of your pants. Where they end is where the Sit bones are. Wallets have a tendency of displacing the pelvic structure causing lower back pain after a time. Not maintaining the correct structure may cause the pelvis to tilt forward and may result in a slouch. The movement of the diaphragm is restricted causing decreased lung function. Tissues kept in shortened or lengthened positions begin to adapt to that length. Bottom line, get up and move around.

If carving related muscles are tight, stretch them. The areas needing stretching are hip flexors, chest muscles, upper and lower arms and wrist and finger flexors (curling/gripping muscles). Areas needing strengthening include glutes (butt muscles), back muscles, muscles of the back of the arms and wrist/ finger extensors (extenders). Awareness of the shoulder position when you are carving is important. Placing the shoulders in a back and down orientation helps open the Brachial Plexus, a collection of nerves traveling from the cervical nerves of the neck down the arm. We have heard of having carpel tunnel syndrome of the hand and elbow, but it can also occur in the shoulder.

Too much of anything isn't a good thing. If doing something causes pain:

  • Do it differently
  • Do it for a shorter duration
  • Do it at a different station
  • Do you need a new chair?
  • Do you need not to have a chair?
  • Do you need glasses, new glasses vs being hunched over to see better?

How birds stay warm when the weather turns cold

There are a few birders in the carving group and several have carved some of the more common species that live in our area. There was an article in a past newsletter that addressed what happens to our birds when we have severe storms that come ashore during hurricane season. I found some information about how birds deal with the cold, especially in the more northern climes of North America.

Staying warm is the biggest problem that birds of northern latitudes or high elevations face during winter. Birds' body temperatures vary between 100 and 110F and average about 104F. Birds have to find dependable food supplies in order to maintain such high temperatures, but doing this in winter can be a tall order. Many birds opt for migration instead. Those that remain in the north undergo a number of physical and physiological changes to do so. The most obvious acclimatizations, or cold adaptations, have to do with plumage. Studies show that most winter birds have 35-70 percent more feather mass than summer birds. Both outer contour feathers and underlying down feathers are increased. Birds further increase the insulation value of their plumage by fluffing, which makes the plumage thicker and increases the depth of the heat-trapping layer of air next to the skin.

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