Bloating, headaches, low energy, tension — the stress and constant immobility that many of us experience during long work days can take a major toll on our bodies and sense of well-being. While we all know that exercise, adequate sleep, and a healthy diet can make a big difference in how we feel over the course of the day, there is something you can do to perk up quickly, stretching.
If you're thinking that you might feel a little bit self-conscious stretching in the office there are a multitude of easy, quick stretches that you can do quickly in the ladies' room, an abandoned conference room, or even at your desk, that will make a huge difference with your energy, digestion, and tension.
For Bloating and Indigestion
One move that's great for digestion is to make your hands into fists and place them into your mid to lower abdomen. Inhale, then as you exhale, press your fist in, and then up. This will increase circulation to your digestive system. Alternatively, try a chair twist (you'll have to stand up for this one). Stand tall, inhale, bend your knees and take your arms up. Exhale and twist to the right, hooking your left elbow outside your right knee, palms pressed. Look up and breathe. Then repeat on the other side.
Headaches are often caused by neck and shoulder tension. To release this tension, Inhale and reach your arm up and over the top of your head, placing the hand on the side of your head. As you exhale, pull your head gently to the side Hold for ten seconds, then repeat on the other side. To get even more of a stretch, you can then pull the neck straight forward, towards your chest — this will stretch the muscles on the back of your neck that can also tense up after all of that typing.
For Back Pain
Start with your feet touching. Bend your knees and open them to the side as you sink your bum as low as you can, to the balls of your feet. Drop your head, reach your arms forward, and then out to the side. As you breathe, round and lengthen your spine. To improve your posture (and prevent said back pain), Place your hands behind your head with palms facing the back of your head. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, bring your elbows back as far as possible, and hold the stretch for fifteen to thirty seconds. Relax, and repeat until you feel diminished tension in your chest and back.
For Increased Energy
For quick energy blasts during the day, lift your arms up alongside your ears and open them into a V shape. Stay here for one to three minutes. Opening up your chest will remind you to breathe deeply — which is easy to forget when deadlines get relentless.
For Improved Circulation
To improve circulation, try a standing forward bend. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and place your hands on your hips. Inhale, and as you exhale, bend forward from your hips keeping your back flat and your knees slightly bent. Continue bending forward until you can rest the palms of your hands on the floor. If you're chained to your desk, you can get a similar effect while sitting. Simply bend at the waist while holding your elbows with opposite hands — this shift in posture will get your blood flowing, warm you up, and ensure that yes, you can handle one more meeting!
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