Unwind with These 15 Stress-Busting Stretches
Overwhelmed by your latest PCS? Life is demanding for us all… and, arguably, it’s even more difficult when you factor in the on-the-go, on-demand requirements of a military family making a PCS change. But you don’t have to let it stress you out. Instead, try banishing any negative vibes with a few strategic stretches that will help ease your mind and keep your body active and toned -- a little more every day. The best part is, you’re probably sitting on the only workout equipment you will need -- a chair.
It’s easier than you may think to improve your state of mind when you and your life is on the move. Just take a moment to sit comfortably in a non-rolling chair, with good posture and un-crossed legs. Remember to complete each move gently and not to rush your movements.
Neck and shoulders
If you carry your stress in your neck and shoulders, you’re not alone. Say goodbye to the aches and pains with these five tips that can ease the tension away.
- Tilt your head from side to side, holding each position for about 10 seconds. Repeat 2x.
- Tilt your head forward and back, 10 seconds in each position. Repeat 2x.
- Lift your shoulders up to your ears, holding them there for 5 seconds, and then relax. Repeat 10x.
- Press your shoulders down, stretching your neck and head toward the ceiling and hold the position for about 10 seconds. Then relax. Repeat 2x.
- Finally, rotate your shoulders forward and back, making full circles. Repeat 5x.
Arms and sides
Staring at a computer screen, TV, or even your favorite novel for long periods of time can scrunch up your body into a knot. Here are five moves to reawaken your back and arms.
- Lift your left arm straight out to the side and slowly move it over your head, counting “1, 2” and then back down to your side, counting “3, 4”. Repeat this action using your right arm, and then continue switching from left to right. Repeat 5x.
- Lift both arms straight out to the side until you look like an airplane. Raise them over your head together, counting “1, 2” and then back down to your side, counting “3, 4”. Repeat 5x.
- Lift both arms straight out to the side and then bend your elbows until your fists meet in the center of your chest. Open your arms counting “1, 2” and then bring them back to your chest, counting “3, 4”. Repeat 5x.
- Now keep your elbows bent with your fists meeting in the center of your chest and twist from side to side, left to right, counting “1, 2, 3, 4” as you go. Repeat 10x.
- Finally, relax your arms down to your sides and bend your body over your lap, letting your forehead hang down against your knees. Hold for 15 seconds.
Legs and feet
Your boots may be made for walking, but if you can’t get away from your desk, your feet may start to feel restless. Here are five ways to take your legs for a walk… without actually going anywhere. Bonus points for your body if you can kick off your shoes for these moves!
- Lift your right leg in front of you to a 90-degree angle, creating resistance against the air around you. Lower your leg and repeat on your left side, counting “1, 2, 3, 4” as you go. Repeat 10x.
- Lift your right leg in front of you at a 90-degree angle and keep it up in the air as you swing it out a few inches to the side before moving it back to center. Do the same with your left leg. Repeat 10x on each side.
- With both feet flat on the floor, flex the front of your foot up, trying to keep your heel touching the floor. Alternate the move between your feet. Repeat 10x.
- Starting with both feet flat on the floor, stand up and sit down, maintaining your best posture. Repeat 10x.
- Now, standing up with both feet flat on the floor, raise up onto the ball of your feet (as though you are wearing high heels) and back down (as if you are wearing ballerina flats). Repeat 10x.
Repeat all of the above as needed throughout the day or week, but keep in mind: all things in moderation. In no time, your body could be feeling re-energized and ready for whatever the day brings to you. Have fun!
IMPORTANT NOTE: As with any exercise program, it is recommended that you speak with your doctor before participating in any new activity. The exercise tips above are meant as suggestions only. Use your best judgment and listen to the individual needs of your own body.