Most people living the urban lifestyles spend a good deal of their day sitting. They go from the kitchen table to the work desk to the car and so on. Most are becoming couch potatoes.
Long hours at the desk can put chains to your feet. And the same sedentary lifestyle extends beyond work hours. The importance of an active day as a lifestyle cannot be negated. A stretch can immensely contribute to the same.
The following is why one needs to start adding it to your day-to-day routine. We are mammals – moving animals. Nature has given us extremities ; our arms and legs for movement. A state of inertia can only lead us to unwanted weight gain, toxicity and a feeling of indigestion throughout the day.
Stretching has several benefits
- Energy booster
- Physical stress relief
- Better circulation
- Improved body awareness and coordination
- Lastly and most importantly – Reduced risk of injury
How to stretch?
Firstly, avoid the areas of the body which aren’t 100% healthy.
Secondly, do all stretches slowly and gently.
Lastly, stretch only to the point of tension. Unlike working out, stretching isn’t supposed to be painful. Its relaxing.
What to stretch?
- Shoulder shrug- Raise the top of your shoulders towards your ears until you feel slight tension in your neck and shoulders. Hold this feeling of tension for 3 to 5 seconds. Then relax into the normal position. Repeat thrice.
- Neck relaxer- sit straight. Drop the head slowly to the left trying to touch the shoulder with your ear. Repeat on the right and come back to the centre. Inhale while going down, exhale while returning.
- Fingers- Separate and straighten your fingers until tension of a stretch is felt and hold for 10 seconds. Relax and bend your fingers at the knuckles and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat.
- Side stretch- Interlace your fingers and lift your arms over your head, keeping the elbows straight. Press arms as far back as you can. Slowly lean to the left and then to the right.
- Upper back stretch- Stand straight. Interlock your fingers, palms up. Stretch arms above head until straight and hold for 20 seconds. Ensure your tummy muscles are tight and tucked in, and do not arch your back. Relax and repeat. Inhale and exhale with controlled breathing.
Make it a routine
Make a point to stretch at the same time—or hopefully times!—every day. Set an alarm to stretch every hour, take a few moments once you’re back from lunch, or stretch in the hallway after a bathroom break. Your new habit will be more likely to stick if it feels ingrained in your schedule.
Have you taken your stretch breaks today?