It’s easy to take your stretches into everyday life. Notice how you move when you are grooming yourself, dressing, even cooking and cleaning, and turn each movement into a stretch. And think “office” as well as “home” to get the most out of your stretch regime.
Look at the ways your body moves in everyday life. Notice how different movements feel, such as brushing your hair or pulling on a sweater or trousers. Does the task feel comfortable? Do you have the same range of motion on such sides? How does it feel to bend over to reach a pet? Let your answers to these questions guide you to set yourself goals that will make an action a little easier or smoother.
Changes to the way we move to happen gradually over time. Diminishing range of motion creeps up on people of every age. A student notices writing arm and shoulders tightening during a long exam. A young mother notices a tight chest or sore lower back as she holds or reaches down to a toddler. Older adults notice they can’t bend to the floor or reach up into cupboards as easily as before.
Your adaptable body
Life’s distractions, such as being preoccupied with a demanding job, with a new baby, or with having to juggle a long commute with household duties can sideline us from regular physical activity. Then suddenly we notice a change and start to worry that our bodies are not as mobile as they once were. The good news is that your body is adaptable. It changes to accept what the environment is telling it to do. If you inadvertently restrict its movements – for instance, by sitting for long periods – it adapts to the smaller, less frequent motions. Conversely, it can re-adapt. That’s why it’s important to find ways in everyday life to get an extra little bit of stretch. Small changes can keep your body healthy over time.
In a crowded schedule
It’s commendable to devote an hour or two a day to taking exercise, but not everyone can do that. Our 15-minute programs make it possible to exercise, even with the most crowded schedule. Yet neither should you overlook the power of taking 25 seconds – four breath cycles – to feel the stretch in an everyday position or movement. This will add to your overall physical wellbeing. Using this strategy during those overwhelming times of life, when every second appears to be accountable, will pay rich dividends.
Brushing your hair is a great way to stretch the shoulders and chest. Try switching the brush to your non-dominant hand to balance both sides of the body.
🙋♀️ Every day stretches that make a difference
– Reach a little farther to stretch into that cupboard. Take a break. Yawn to stretch the jaw. Open the eyes and look upwards to open the chest and neck.
– Stretch your legs and hips when putting on and taking off clothes. Practice lunges when vacuuming and move your hips from side to side when sweeping.
– Renew your posture at the office by squeezing between the shoulder blades and rolling your shoulders. Firm the glutes and sit up tall. 🙋♀️
Putting on your socks is a good time for a hamstring stretch. Simply lift the leg, or reach over to it, bow the head, and take a few breaths.
Working in an office gives you a good opportunity to use some chair stretches from the Wake up the stretch program. Reach your hands behind your head and wing your elbows open in a chest stretch. It helps your workday go faster and more smoothly. Sitting work is probably among the most tiring, and it’s important to take frequent breaks, even for a few breaths. Office stretches increase clear thinking as well as helping to avoid computer over-use problems that can affect your chest, hands, and arms. Intermittent breathing and stretches will make you a more productive worker, whatever you do for a living.
An everyday habit
Perseverance is simple when you make stretches an everyday habit. Habits can be formed in as little as 21 days, so set a goal on your calendar for the next 21 days and find opportunities for a stretch at home, work, and play. Have faith: the body will change, but only with persistence. Stretching in everyday life makes that persistence easy.
Take a twisted break at the office. Cross one leg over the other and turn in the direction of the crossed leg, just as in our Seated cross-leg twist.