As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt daily life, we have launched this blog series dedicated entirely to different areas of mental wellness. These blogs are based on a mental wellness initiative that we have started within our communities for our residents entitled “Recharge Your Battery”. This initiative focuses on mental wellness strategies and equips our associates with the tools they need to check in with our residents and to address any needs, just as we would with physical health.
For today’s topic, we’ll be focusing on stretching. Stretching increases blood flow and circulation to your muscles and your brain. More blood flow contributes to a clearer mind and a more cheerful mood. After stretching, you will find yourself ready to rethink situations and decisions that may have been cloudy earlier. From a physical perspective, stretching improves your joint range of motion, improves athletic performance and decreases your risk of injury.
Are you ready to get started? We recommend starting your day with the below morning stretch routine, which is a quick, easy way to set the rest of your day up for success.
1. Neck side stretch
Gently lean your head to one side, then the next, to warm up your neck.
Now lift your right arm up and over your head, resting your palm gently on the left side.
Gently pull your head to the right (very gently – in fact just placing your hand there may be enough weight to cause you to feel the stretch).
Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
2. Shoulder and upper back stretch
Begin standing tall, arms by your sides. Now, reaching behind you with both hands, pull your shoulders back and clasp your fingers together.
If you feel a stretch already, hold it here. If you can go further, push your clasped hands away from your lower back and gently arc backward.
Return to standing tall, and repeat.
3. Triceps stretch
Sitting tall in a chair (or standing), lift your right arm up over your head, bending at your elbow.
Now, reach your opposite arm up to clasp your elbow, and pull gently in the opposite direction. You should feel a light stretch through the back of your arm.
Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then switch arms.
4. Ankle circles
Get comfortable in a sturdy chair, sitting up tall.
Extend your right leg out in front of you, keeping the other on the floor.
Begin to rotate your right ankle; 10 to 20 rotations clockwise and 10 to 20 rotations counterclockwise.
Lower your leg and repeat on your opposite leg.
6. Seated hip stretch
Begin sitting tall in a sturdy chair.
Cross your right leg over your left, letting the right ankle sit atop your left knee.
Relax your right hip, letting gravity pull it toward the floor. You may already feel a stretch deep in your hip.
To go further, gently press down on your right leg and the knee for a deeper stretch.
Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then switch legs.
Depending on how many times you intend on repeating each exercise, this routine will last anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. It’s all up to you!