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Four common stretches for unwinding daily tension

 

Each day we perform activities that create stress on our body, and they can present in fairly predictable ways for most people. For example, if you sit at a desk, chances are you’ve experienced tightness in your back, neck, hips or a combination of these. That is because our body was not meant to be in a chair for such long periods of time. On the other hand, being quite active can put just as much stress on our muscles and joints, just generally in a healthier way.

This stiffness that accumulates in our body rarely works itself out, we just become very good at ignoring it. The problem is that this will lead to complications down the road. Tension, even if you don’t recognize it as such, can make it hard to find a comfortable sleeping position, make us unaccountably cranky or sad and lead to pain and fatigue. Doing a very short stretching routine at lunch, after supper or before bed is essential for resetting your body to tackle your next work day or workout.

Here are four of the most important stretches that target everyday stress that most of us experience.

 

Figure foStretch1ur – Stretching the glutes maintains hip mobility, a very important factor in good posture and pelvic health. Lay down, cross one ankle over opposite knee, as you bring the legs up, grab the knee through the hole created and pull toward you.

 

 

 

 

Stretch2

 

Doorway – Stretching the chest helps to balance tension in the torso, easing soreness between the shoulder blades. Stand in a doorway, reach up and brace forearm against the frame, make motion like you are throwing a ball (force comes from legs) slowly until stretch is felt in chest or shoulder.

 

stretch3

 

 

Reach for the sky – combine with deep breathing, this helps to open your ribs and mid back, helping you get a deeper breath

 

 

 

Stretch4

 

Side bend – Stretches ribs and low back. Stand with feet wide, place one hand on hip or thigh for support, lean to that side while reaching up and over with the other hand.

 

 

 

Some things to keep in mind while performing these stretches.

FIND YOUR SPACE. Stretching is best done with fewer distractions, so find a time and place that is yours. Stretching during the work day is a great excuse to get up and move around, giving your energy and helping you focus. 15 minutes left on the egg timer? More than enough. My personal favorite is before bed, it’s when most of us are trying to wind down anyway.

BE GENTLE. Sore, tight muscles respond much better with less force, if you grind your teeth, hold your breath, or notice yourself fighting the motion, TAKE IT EASY! Life is hard enough as it is.

BREATHE. Without slow deep breaths, a muscle simply will not release and you will be wasting your time.

It is important to understand that these stretches are safe for most people. If you have an injury, or feel any pain during any of these exercises, please stop and consult a team member about your discomfort.

 

by Michael Wells, RMT

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