We all go through times in our lives
where our schedules are just too hectic to fit in a workout. Sure, people will tell you
that you can always find time for a quick workout if you just organize your
daily activities a bit better. But, honestly, sometimes we are just too busy,
tired, and/or frustrated to think about it, right?
While we may not be able to squeeze
in a workout each day, adding a quick 5-10 minute stretching routine to your
day can really work wonders when it comes to increasing flexibility, improving circulation,
and decreasing stress.
Stretching can boost energy by
promoting greater blood flow throughout the body, supplying your body with
fresh oxygen. When you stress, your muscles tense up, keeping you stiff and
uncomfortable. Stretching can release this tension, helping you to re-focus and
relax. A less stressed, more flexible body has a decreased risk of injury and
Stretching may be just the
pick-me-up you are looking for. Why not give it a try?
Here are a few basic stretches I use daily that don't require any equipment other than you and a bit of
floor space. Fit them in between errands, after a meeting, or before you fall
off to sleep. Hold each stretch for 10-15 seconds before repeating on opposite
side when required. Remember to breathe slowly and deeply while performing each stretch.
To Relax and Reduce Stiffness:
Stand up straight, stretching your
arms above your head while linking your hands together. Take a deep breath and
release as you lower your arms back to your side.
Link your hands behind your back and
raise your arms as high as you can, while squeeze your elbows together and
pushing your chest toward the ceiling.
Stand up straight, relaxing the arms
and shoulders. Slowly begin rolling your shoulders by moving them upward, back
and down in a circular motion. Repeat 10 times.
In either a standing or sitting position, raise one
arm above your head. Bend the arm at the elbow, placing the opposite hand on
the elbow. Apply light pressure until you feel the stretch.
From a standing position, cross one
arm in front of your body. Place the opposite hand on your elbow. Apply light
pressure to pull the arm across your body. (Do not twist your waist/torso).
In a sitting position, bend both of
the knees, brining the soles of your shoes together (knees should be pointing
out to the side). While keeping your back straight, hold your ankles or feet
with your hands. Gently lean forward (don't slouch!) applying pressure on the
legs with your elbows. Do not bounce with the legs.
In a standing position (you may use
a wall, chair, etc for balance, if needed), bend your knee, lifting the heel of
your foot toward your back. Once bent, hold your foot with your corresponding
hand, applying light pressure as you feel the stretch.
Lean both hands against a wall. With
one leg straight, take a step backward with the other foot and slowly bring
that heel to the ground while keeping your knee straight. Hold in this