Stress is a killer in many ways. It can kill us with bad health like high blood pressure and heart attacks. It can kill our good nature by making us quick to anger or depressed. It can kill relationships, friendships and jobs. Using as many things at our disposal as we can to reduce stress in our lives and our bodies is seriously important. Evidence shows that using our physical bodies to do stretches and exercise can actually kill stress! So if you want to feel better instantly as well as over the long run, do these 5 stretches.
1. Full Body Stretch – Lay on your back. Stretch your fingers as far above your head as you can and your feet as far as they will go so that your entire body is stretched out vertically. Flex and point your toes a few times as you hold this pose for about 10 seconds. Then, pull your knees into your chest, hug your legs and bend your head toward your knees. Hold this for 10 seconds. Stretch out long again. Repeat this 3 or more times.
2. Figure Four Leg Stretch – Start with your left leg in a 90 degree table top position. Put your right ankle against your left knee. Use your hands to gently pull your thigh toward your body and feel the stretch in your legs and butt. Take turns with each leg as many times as feels good.
3. Cat Cow Stretch – give your back a full stretch by doing this stretch about 5 times. Hold it at the top and the bottom for 10 seconds each (or longer if it feels good).
4. Cobra Pose & Child’s Pose – Hold this pose for 20 seconds, move into a child’s pose for 10 seconds, then back to the cobra pose for 20 seconds. Repeat this 4 times. You will feel this in your abdomen, chest, shoulders, hips and back.
5. Elbow Pull – start by sitting up straight. Roll your shoulders forward and back a few times. Roll shoulders back and down then hold there. Lift your right arm so that your elbow is facing to the ceiling. Place your left hand on your right elbow and gently pull only to what is comfortable. Hold for at least 7 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Do this a few times on each side.
Repeat any of these stretches that make you feel relaxed and comfortable. End with the Full Body Stretch and then lie flat with your eyes closed for at least 3 – 5 minutes to relax.
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