Keeping it Loose
By: Diana Fletcher
Let’s face it. It can be difficult to pay attention to your health when you are busy with so many tasks and have so many responsibilities. The key is to make it convenient.
I would like to share some exercises and stretches that you can do throughout your day, even when you are working. (No, you don’t have to jog by another cubicle or worry about anyone hearing you breathing heavily in your office!)
Here are three simple, yet powerful ways to feel better, get exercise, keep your muscles loose and reduce your stress.
1. Breathe. Deeply and slowly, breathe in through your nose. Feel the air all the way down to your diaphragm. Gently blow all the air out through your mouth. Repeat three times. You are sending much needed oxygen to every cell in your body, including your brain. Now you can be sharp and healthy! Do this whenever you feel stressed, anxious or foggy.
Coach Tip: Make a note to do this every hour.
2. Walk. Get up every hour and walk around—even if only for a few minutes.
Coach Tip: Take a walk at lunchtime for at least 10 minutes. No phone, no conversation. You will approach your afternoon with more clarity and creativity.
3. Stretch. Use gentle stretches* to loosen muscles that tighten from sitting, reading, making phone calls and working on the computer. Stretching helps you look, feel and move better.
Coach Tip: Even if you don’t notice your muscles tightening up, they are. Don’t wait for pain to signal that you need to stretch. (*All stretches should be done slowly. Please consult with your doctor, physical therapist, or other fitness professional if anything doesn’t “feel right.” You should feel a pleasant loosening of tight muscles—never pain.)
The following are stretches that you can do at your desk or standing up.
Neck Rolls and Turns
- Roll your neck and head in a clockwise fashion for a few revolutions (full 360 degrees neck roll). SLOWLY! Then, roll your neck in a counter clockwise fashion for a few revolutions. Slowly!
- Slowly and gently, turn your neck and head to the side. Then turn your neck and head to the other side. Then look downward toward your chest. Then lift your chin so that you are looking up at the ceiling.
- Lift your shoulders as if you are trying to touch your ears with your shoulders.
- While lifting your shoulders toward your ears, roll the shoulders behind you. What you are doing is making a circular motion with your shoulders while you are lifting them toward your ears.
Stretching for your sides.
- Pretend you are reaching for an object that is up high and just out of reach. It is slightly in front of you.
- Reach first with your right arm – Stretch to reach the object. Slowly and gently. You should feel the stretch on your right side.
- Reach with your left arm and s-t-r-e-t-c-h.
- Alternate arms 3 or 4 times.
Gentle Twists for Lower Back
- Sit tall and place the left arm behind left hip. Gently twist to the left, using the right hand to deepen the stretch, holding for 20-30 seconds.
- Repeat on the other side.
Now, treat yourself to a little reward: Self Massage
- Take your right hand and reach back to your right shoulder. Massage gently and work your way up to your neck and scalp. Work your way back down.
- Do the same with your left hand and shoulder.
Taking the few moments to pay attention to your muscles and your breathing will pay off with reduced stress, easier breathing and more flexible movements. Have fun!
Diana Fletcher is the Stress Reducing Expert Life Coach, Motivational Speaker and Author. Please visit www.dianafletcher.com for more stress reducing tips. Diana can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412 612-5977