6 easy stretches to help you destress
- 23 December 2020
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The Christmas stress is real. Not to mention COVID concerns. At Tonic, while we, of course, love to see you all come in for regular massages, we equally want to provide our community of loyal clients with the tools you need to take care of your health and wellbeing at home. For this reason, we thought it may be helpful if osteopath and Tonic owner Dane told us a few of his favourite daily stretches to ensure you’re feeling your best, and a little less stressed this festive period.
Stress quite often manifests as tightness in your muscles. Stretching and movement provide proper circulation, increase oxygen, and release tension in your muscles. These effects send mood-boosting blood flow to your brain.
In addition, the deep breathing you will practice during the stretching process will slow your heart rate and blood pressure. Then, when you let go of the posture, you are sending a message to your brain to relax.
Which stretches are best?
Here are a few stretches you can easily do at home to help reduce your stress levels this festive season, as recommended by our osteopath Dane…
Seated spinal twist
This stretch is an easy one to do during your workday. Simply sit toward the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Place your right hand at the back of the seat, by the backrest, and place your left hand on your right thigh. Inhale, lengthen your spine, then exhale and rotate your torso to the right, gazing over your right shoulder. Repeat on the other side.
Most people hold tension in their lower back. Simple but effective stretches like yoga 101 position Child’s Pose are ideal for elongating the back and therefore releasing tightness and stiffness.
To correctly do child’s pose, kneel on the floor. Bring your feet together and open your knees to create a V shape. Sit back, keeping your butt on or reaching toward your heels, and walk your hands in front of you so that your chest lowers to the ground.
Don’t forget to breathe deeply! A nice pose to try before bed.
Chest Stretch Opener
Clasp your hands behind your back, squeeze your upper shoulder blades toward each other behind you, and push out through your chest. This very simple pose promotes proper posture and releases tension through your chest to maximise oxygen and circulation. It’s another good one to try at your desk.
Towel Stretch for Legs
Grab a dish or hand towel. Lay on your back with your abdominal muscles tightened, knees bent and feet on the floor. Extend one leg towards the ceiling, keeping your knee slightly bent. Then, place your towel behind the back of your leg or ankle (not the knee), holding both ends. Pull the towel towards your chest until you feel a good stretch. Breathing steadily, hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat two to five times.
Ear to shoulder stretch
This one feels divine after a long day! Tilt your head, bringing your right ear to your right shoulder until you feel a stretch. Using your left hand, apply slight pressure. You will feel the stretch along the left side of your neck. Repeat on the other side. Do so as many times as feels good.
You can benefit from stretching just about any part of your body, finger’s included! Hold your right hand out and, using the index and middle fingers of your left hand, stretch between each finger as shown. Repeat with your left hand.
Bye, bye stress!
We recommend doing these stretches at least three to four times per week, repeating the cycle twice each session. Hold all stretches for at least 15 to 30 seconds.