A new year is almost here, and it’s a great time to reset and refocus on your health goals. Even with a million things happening, taking a moment for yourself in the hustle and bustle of the day can help you be Healthy for Good.
If your daily schedule or routine stretches you to the max, it may be time to change things up and give your body a way to push back on that feeling.
When you’re experiencing emotional or mental stress, your body may feel tense as well. Why? Muscle tension is a normal reaction to stress. Something as simple as setting a stretch goal may help you fight off the harmful effects of stress.
Stretching may seem like a small thing, but your muscles will respond, and your body will feel better. It only takes a moment to stretch and it’s something you can do anywhere. You can stretch when you wake up, after you exercise or even while working at your desk.
Stretching can help you:
- become more flexible.
- increase range of motion.
- improve your posture.
- prevent muscle soreness after a workout.
- feel better.
There’s no shortage of ways to stretch. Here’s an easy one to get you started: Stand up, take a step away from your screen and simply align your spine by placing your shoulders over your hips so they stack upon your feet. (Yogis know it as mountain pose.) Better posture can help decrease tension and pain in your body.
Another great stretch, especially if you have low back pain, is to put one foot up on a low, secure surface or stair step and bend forward from the hips until you feel the stretch in the back of your leg.
Five minutes of stretching may even help you tackle your daily to-do list more efficiently by allowing your mind to clear and focus. If you think finding those five minutes in your busy day will be a challenge, put it in perspective. There are 1,440 minutes in a day. Can you spare five of them to feel better both physically and mentally?
Don’t let the day go by without grabbing your five minutes. Create a reminder in your calendar, on your phone, or even use an old-fashioned sticky note – whatever works so you can create the healthy habit of stretching daily. Your body will thank you.
As you consider your New Year’s resolutions and ways you can create healthy habits, don’t just think about the big goals. Sometimes it’s the small goals that add up to the big changes you seek.
How are you going to add daily stretching to your routine?
Bella Portaro-Kueber is a creative optimist. Read her bio here.