Practice #15: Make stretching part of your daily routine. Stretching is not just for athletes. It provides several benefits to your body and increases your sense of happiness and well-being. Stretching costs nothing and you can do it virtually anywhere.
How stretching helps your body
Stretching helps reduce soreness because it increases the blood supply and nutrients to your muscles. Flexibility is improved which in turn helps your posture. There’s a reason why parents and teachers remind kids to “stand up straight!” Poor posture robs you of feeling confident. It takes a toll on your body. Bad posture can cause back and neck pain. You want to avoid that, right?
Stretching reduces tension
Stretching calms your mind. By stopping whatever you’re doing to stretch, you give yourself a mental break. The lengthening of the muscles that occurs when you stretch naturally relieves tension and provides a little happiness boost. It’s no accident that yoga has become so popular in our stressed out culture.
Stretch to battle computer cramp
Professionals can spend hours sitting at a computer. You hunch over the keyboard, causing your chest muscles to tighten which pulls your neck and head forward. Now your posture is impacted and you might be feeling arm pain too.
Take a short break every hour and do this simple stretch. Stand up and arch your back, making your chest open up and your shoulders roll back. This exercise is very effective at battling the stiffness and curling effect you get from long periods of computer work.
I spend a lot of time on a computer so I have to remind myself to do this frequently. If you get so immersed in your work that you don’t notice the time passing, set an alarm on your phone for every hour you’re working.
Making stretching a habit
Stretching for a few minutes is a power habit to add to your morning routine. Greet the day by reaching up to the sky. Take a yoga class or simply add a 10-15 minute routine that you can do at home. Here’s a link to six easy stretches from Real Simple.
How do you fit stretching into your day? Share a stretching exercise you can do at work in the comment box below.