Healthy Movements: 4 Stretches to De-Stress

Healthy Movements: 4 Stretches to De-Stress

With the hustle and bustle of such constant schedules, moments where you find yourself able to breathe and relax are few and far between. Luckily, there are some super basic and easy stretches that can help instigate quick moments of “de-stressing” throughout your hectic workdays. Whether you’re constantly on-the-go or repeatedly seated at a computer desk, these 4 stretching exercises can grant you a bit of calm amidst your chaos.

 

1 – Standing Body Hang

Computer and deskwork can contribute to chronic backaches. This exercise can relieve lower back tensions, loosen tight back muscles, and reduce sciatic pain. First, stand with your feet a bit wider than hips-width apart, with your knees soft. Bend forward, hinging at the hips and attempting to keep your back flat, and pressing your hands into your upper thighs. Reach your sit bones back to help extend your spine, and continue bending forward toward the ground. Allow your head and arms to hang there, and breathe. Maintain that position for about 2-3 minutes, making an “s” sound on each exhalation. When you return to standing, be certain to roll up slowly, one vertebra at a time. 

 

2 – Shoulder Shrug

To better your posture and reduce tension in your shoulders and neck, this movement can also shrug off some excess stress. While standing or sitting, be certain your spine is extended tall. Inhale and then exhale deeply; as you inhale for a count of three, lift your shoulders slowly toward your ears. Exhale slowly with an “s” sound, counting to three again, as your roll your shoulders slowly back. Finally, lower your shoulders back down as you inhale to the count of three. Repeat this 5 to 10 times and feel the stress release.

 

3 – Knee Hugs

Hips tend to hold a large amount of your stress and tension – this stretch is meant to help open your hips, stretch your hamstrings, and revive the muscles in your ankles and feet. First, lying on the floor with both your legs extended, hug one knee into your chest, drawing it in slowly and wrapping your arms around your shin. Breathe deeply for about 1 or 2 minutes in that position. Next, flex the foot in your bent leg, hold it for about 10-15 seconds, and then release; flex and release your foot for 5 times, before slowly lowering it back to the ground. Repeat steps with the other leg.

 

4 – Chest Stretch

Feel like you need to stand up a little straighter? This stretch can help extend your upper-back muscles, chest, while improving your posture. First, sit tall in a chair; bend your elbow and interlace your fingers behind your head. Lean your head back a bit, allowing the weight of your head to be held by your hands. Try to lift your spine and chest toward the ceiling; if it’s still comfortable, arch your upper part of your spine, focusing on lifting your chest toward the ceiling. Hold that positions for about 1 minute, breathing deeply and exhaling with an “s” sound. And, feel some of the upper body stressors dissipate.