Stretch it out!

S-s-s-s-stretch it out!

 

Many of us work while sitting at a desk all day and often do not meet our “steps goal” each day.  Our FitBits and Apple Watches yell at us to stand up, walk around, stretch, and breathe, but it usually feels much easier to ignore their recommendations and continue doing what we’re doing.  What if you had three easy stretches to do each day that would make your smartwatch happy, would that help?

According to Harvard Health, all humans (regardless of our exercise level) should be stretching daily.  Stretching keeps our muscles flexible so that they don’t tighten up and eventually shorten. Yes, your muscles can shorten if they’re not stretched enough.  Not stretching puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage. Not good.

Here are three stretches that can be done just about anywhere and will probably make a bigger difference in your day than you realize:

Overhead Stretch – stand up and wrap your right hand around your abdomen, gently pressing your forearm against your stomach.  Reach your left arm straight up and begin to lean to the right. Stretch as far as you can so that you can still breathe comfortably.  Hold this for five breathes, release, and do the same with the other side.

Touch Your Toes – stand up and stand with your feet hip distance apart.  Reach down toward your toes and bend as far as you can while still maintaining a comfortable breath.  If your hands are on the ground and you can’t bend any further, grab each of your elbows with the opposite hand and hang.  Hold for ten breaths. Then, very slowly stand up vertebrae by vertebrae. Finish by rolling your head side to side.

Figure 4 – stand up and make sure that you have something to grab on to.  Place your right hand on your desk, chair, etc. and then lift your left foot.  If you’re confident in your balancing skills, put your hands on your hips. Place the outside of your left ankle above your knee, forming a ‘figure 4’.  Stretch into this by bending your right leg as much as you’d like. Hold this for five breaths, put your left foot back on the ground, and repeat on the other side.

Bonus for a Brain Boost:

Shoulder Roll Stretch – stand up (or stay seated if you’d prefer) and let both of your arms rest by your sides.  Breathe in and lift your shoulders up toward your ears. Drop your shoulders slowly as you squeeze your shoulder blades together and exhale.  

Now repeat after us: S-S-S-S-STRETCH IT OUT!

Source: Harvard Health Publishin

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