The Benefits of Frequent Stretching
Have you noticed that animals maintain muscle mass with minimal exercise? For example, dogs spend the day eating and sleeping, with only a walk or two for exercise. If there’s nothing to tear apart or steal, they’ll sleep. Despite their laziness, dogs manage to maintain muscle mass and display peak performance during the weekend run at the dog park! How do animals maintain their fitness with minimal movement?
One theory is that stretching helps them to maintain muscle mass. Resting dogs frequently stand up, stretch, and lie back down. Some studies show that frequent stretching stimulates muscles and hormonal changes, thereby preventing atrophy and shortening of muscle fibers. This week take a cue from your pet and add some stretches into your work day. This may help you maintain your fitness, even if you have to skip your workout.
- Targets the outer thigh and glute
- Creates range of motion in the hip
- Sit in your chair and cross the right ankle over the left knee.
- Sit up tall (it will feel like you are slightly tilting the hips forward or creating an arch in the lower back).
- Flex your right foot – engaging the muscles in this way prevents unhealthy twisting in the right knee joint.
- Begin to fold forward until you feel a gentle stretch in the outer thigh and glute, perhaps resting the arms and head on your desk.
- Take five breaths (count: inhale-2-3-4 *pause*, exhale-2-3-4 *pause*).
- Repeat on the other side.
- Releases tension in the mid and upper back
- Increases twisting range of motion in the spine
- Sit in your chair with both feet flat on the floor.
- Sit tall and engage your core muscles as you press the crown of the head upwards.
- Place your left hand on the right chair arm and your right hand on the back of the chair; twist to the right.
- As you twist, keep your eye gaze upward.
- Note: twist from the abdomen, not by craning the neck
- Take a few deep breaths into your chest, then return to center.
- Repeat on the other side.
Breathing with hands clasped behind the head
- stretches intercostal muscles (the muscles between the ribs)
- encourages deeper breathing
- relaxes the body and releases tension
- Sit in your chair with both feet flat on the ground
- Start by sitting tall and relaxing your shoulders
- Inhale as you circle the arms up over the head
- Interlace your fingers and press the palms upwards. Gaze upwards as far as is comfortable.
- As you exhale, bring your interlaced hands behind your head, stretching elbows wide. Bring your gaze forward.
- Take 3 breaths, filling the lungs to capacity as you keep your gaze either directly forward or upwards.
- Repeat until you feel refreshed and ready to work!
I hope you find these helpful and enjoy trying them out! Don’t forget like or commenting – I’m so grateful to find out what works for you and what you’d like more of!