Saturday, August 30, 2008

De-Stress with a Stretch!

What is the most natural, simplest and the easiest way to de-stress? No rocket science here – but it is to stretch out your muscles and body!
I am sure all of us stretch out at some or the other point during the day – may be in the morning, just as you get out of bed or may be after getting out of the car after an hour-long drive or may be just reclining back on the chair during the break etc. etc.

A simple stretch helps to boost the blood circulation and thus helps us feel energized.

The muscles in our body are made up of fibres and are connected to the joints through tendons, whose length, elasticity and few other factors define the range of motion across the joints which they connect.

If these get shortened, as is the case with prolonged sitting or any prolonged activity like typing, driving, lying etc. then the range of motion decreases, thereby increasing the risk of injury, even while performing activities of daily living, like taking something off the shelf or trying to dry clothes etc.

To avoid this, a few minutes of stretching must be included in your daily routine. This may be done irrespective of whether you exercise or not, any time of the day. For those who exercise, the passive stretches are usually done after the workout as a part of the cool down, and also helping in reducing muscle soreness and shortening.

Stretching is a great way to de-stress since –
· It improves flexibility, which reduces as one ages.
· You are able to maintain / increase your range of motion, which means your limbs and joints can move further before an injury occurs.
· Stretches out the shortened muscles, thereby easing muscle tension and relieving stress.
· Increased blood circulation, thereby flushing out the toxins.
· Energizes you, since fresh blood gets delivered to the active muscle.
· It can be used to better the posture by balancing the shortened muscle.

However, one very important factor – for those who do not precede it with any exercise – is to warm up you body a little before getting into the stretches.
Cold muscle stretches less, and is also prone to injury and tears.
Also remember to hold the stretch continuously (without bouncing) for a minimum of 20 -30 seconds for greater benefits.
Most importantly, when you stretch, “slight discomfort” is the word, and not “pain”. In other words, the stretching should never feel painful or unbearable.
Consult an expert for the right techniques, and don’t TRY STUNTS AT HOME !!

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