As the pandemic continues, you may have noticed your lifestyle turning more sedentary than it once was. As you spend more time sitting at your desk and lying on your bed, your muscles may start feeling tenser, and your back aches are worse than usual. As you snack more frequently in-between breaks, many of us have also unwittingly put on a couple of pounds.
However, a lack of exercise does not only affect your weight and physical health but also your mood. Studies have shown that regular low-intensity aerobic exercise such as jogging and walking can boost one’s mood more than an inactive activity such as reading and watching TV. Getting active does not always mean having to engage in a high-intensity workout, in fact, body stretches are a great form of exercise that anyone can easily do to improve their flexibility, relieve tense muscles and calm the mind. To get you started, here are some stretches you can incorporate into your daily routine.
1. Start Your Day With A Cobra Stretch
This simple stretch can be done every morning to relieve any muscle tensions after an awkward sleeping position. It also helps strengthen the spine to help those experiencing back pain after sitting for hours in front of a computer. To maximise the benefits, perform this stretch both at the start and end of your day.
Start by lying on your stomach and leaving your arms flat beneath your shoulders. Next, tuck your elbows by the sides of your ribs before you slowly and gently raise your head and chest. Relax your neck and shoulders as you hold the stretch for up to 20 seconds, then end it off by gently lowering your body.
2. Take A Break In Between Work With The Uttanasana
The Uttanasana, otherwise known as the standing forward bend, is a popular yoga pose. Yoga instructors praise this stretch for its healing properties for the mind; it relieves anxiety while promoting a state of calm. If you have been sitting at your desk for too long and are feeling overwhelmed with a clouded head, this stretch is perfect for you.
The standing forward bend also relieves hamstring tensions after sitting or long periods of inactivity. This is the perfect stretch that can be done at your work desk – start by inhaling and bringing your arms up to face the ceiling. Make sure your arms are parallel to the sides of your ears and continue by bringing them down to the sides of your body. Ensure your fingers are aligned with your toes, then, draw up your quad muscles to open up your hamstrings.
3. Try A Spinal Twist After A Heavy Meal
If you are feeling bloated and stuffed after a meal, some gentle movement will help relieve the uncomfortable feeling in your stomach. Twists help aid digestion as they massage and stimulate your abdominal organs. Additionally, gentle twisting of your body after a heavy dinner encourages blood flow to enhance digestion and nutrient absorption.
Be sure not to overexert yourself during this exercise. Instead, move gently and slowly. The Supine Spinal Twist is a gentle yoga twist you can try after a heavy meal. Get your body ready by lying on a mat or bed with your legs straight. Open up your arms so your body forms an uppercase “T”. Slowly tuck your left knee into your chest. Next, move it over and release it on the left side of your body.
Gently turn your head in the opposite direction to the right to stretch your neck, and make sure both shoulders are relaxed. Hold and breathe deeply before reverting to your original position and repeating on the left side.
Adding in these stretches into your routine can help you to recover from the stressors of the pandemic. Before you know it, you would have formed a healthy habit that will serve you for a long time to come.
If these stretches are unable to relieve any chronic physical pain or ease your anxieties, it might be time to consult a doctor. As telemedicine in Singapore flourishes, many apps have made it easier to consult a doctor online with reduced waiting times – download the MyCLNQ app for a seamless, comprehensive solution to all your healthcare needs today!