*information obtained from Eight Week To Optimum Health by Andrew Weil, M.D
Stretching is the most natural form of nonaerobic exercise. All of us tend to stretch after being in one position for a long time, and experts in human physiology say that we should develop habits of stretching in opposite ways from the positions we spend most time in during the day in order to condition our muscles and keep tendons, ligaments, and joints limber.
For example, if you work leaning over a desk, when you get home you should spend a few minutes within your head, neck and shoulders arched backward.
Daily stretching is the best way to improve flexibility, one of the components of fitness. The more flexible your body is, the better it can meet the demands of life and resist injury.
DID YOU KNOW: the sensations of stretching often border on both pleasure and pain, but the end result is a welcome alteration of consciousness. Muscles contain stretch receptors, special group of cells that inform the brain about their state of tension, This pathway of direct communication to the central nervous system probably explains why stretching can change our levels of arousal and moods so rapidly.
5 Stretches 2 Do:
- Interlace your fingers, then straighten your arms out in front of you, palms facing out. Hold the stretch for twenty seconds, then rest for a few seconds and repeat it.
- Interlace your fingers, then turn palms upward above your head as you straighten your arms. Hold for ten seconds, rest, and repeat.
- Extend the arms to the side, palms facing forward, and stretch them backward. Hold for ten seconds, rest, and repeat.
- Hold your right arm just above the elbow with your left hand. Now gently pull your elbow toward your left shoulder while looking over your right shoulder.
- Bend forward from a sitting position to stretch and relieve tension in the lower back. Hold for forty-five seconds, then put your hands on your thighs to help push your body back to an upright position.
Stretching is so natural that you can easily invent your own forms. Try to stretch for five minutes everyday; do it when you come home from work, before you go to bed, or any other time you find convenient. Just do it. Avoid any tendency to hold your breath while doing them.