Late last week I was talking to an ex-colleague/friend of mine (who is now an amazing 102 years old and still does her 30 mins of exercise every weekday!) about mobility and it’s positive effect on stress relief. So, I was inspired to put together my 4-5 favorite simple stretches that I think should be done everyday to help relieve the tension this lockdown is causing many of us.
Before trying these please remember to warm up first – may be perform them after your daily walk. They should only take about 5-8 minutes and remember to hold the position and breathe out; no bouncing – we are not in the 1980s anymore 😊
The simple Neck Stretch
This neck stretch can be performed seated or standing and is a great way to ease built up neck tension from a day at your computer, whether working or ‘zooming’ family and friends.
From a seated position, place your left hand on the right side of your head, with your right arm behind your back. Gently pull your head to the left side until you feel a gentle stretch in your neck. Hold and breathe deeply for 20-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
The Chest Stretch
This chest stretch is one of the easiest ways to stretch out your chest muscles which can get tight and overworked if you spend a lot of time seated or on devices, and can considerably contribute to poor posture.
Stand tall and clasp hands behind your back, squeezing your shoulder blades as you raise arms. Lift higher to feel a deeper stretch. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
The Cat Stretch into child pose
It is good for stretching out both upper and lower back and subtly works your core muscle too.
Begin in an ‘all fours’ position with a flat back before rounding spine and arching back your back and dropping chin to chest. Gently contract your abdominals as you do this taking care not to hold your breath. Hold for five seconds, relax back to a flat back and repeat. Do a total of five arches.
Then transfer your weight backwards and aim for your bottom to touch your heels. Extend your arms out on the floor infront of you with your forward ideally touching the floor.
Please note that I have not included a dip in the back or ‘cow pose’ as I know many people can suffer with pre-existing back conditions and whilst exercise will be unsupervised I can’t recommend it.
The Hamstring Stretch
This one is important if you are doing a daily walk, are a runner or for those that chose to wear a heeled shoe. A tight hamstring can alter our body shape by tilting our pelvis backwards, it can also cause lower joint pains.
Find a step in your house and face the stairwell. Then simple wriggle your feet back until your heels drop off the step. Please hold on to a wall or railing. Allow your body weight to produce a slow and controlled stretch down the back of your legs. Hold and breathe.