Stretching to Reduce Stress
Just Relax… By Stretching?
By now, we are all aware of the dangers that stress can pose to our bodies as well as our mental well-being. However, trying to heed the simple advice to “just relax” is sometimes easier said than done! There are many things we can do to relax throughout the day, and one activity that has proven to be helpful is stretching.
Take Time to Stretch – It’s Worth It
Taking time out in your day to do a few simple stretches is not only great for counteracting the effects of athletic strain or sitting for long periods of time, it can also reduce your stress levels. A good stretch can increase blood flow throughout the body, which can give you more energy. Feeling revitalized and energized is a great way to combat stress.
Combatting the Physical Effects of Stress
When we are feeling stress, our muscles tend to contract and become shorter. Stretching lengthens the muscles and relieves stress. The key is to focus your stretches on the areas that hold the most tension, such as shoulders, lower back, and neck.
Stretching also stimulates the nervous system and can help decrease the levels of stress hormones produced in the body. This can help to diminish the negative physical and mental aspects of stress.
Calm Mind, Calm Body
Certain types of stretching, including some yoga poses, can help calm the mind through providing a greater awareness of what’s going on in our body. If you slow down and stretch, and pay attention to where you are feeling stress or pain, you may be able to alleviate some of that discomfort by targeting stretches to that area.
Paying attention to where you hold the most stress in your body can also help you work with your massage therapist to get the most out of your massage sessions.
Make Stretching Part of your Relaxation Routine
There are many things you can do to counteract the stress of everyday life, including regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep. And one of the easiest things you can do is to add a few stretches to your day. It will not only provide you with long-term benefits, it is also a great excuse to get up from your desk throughout the day!