Lifestyle Health and Wellbeing 08 Aug 2016 Finally, the home st ...

Finally, the home stretch

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | MANISH JASWAL
Published Aug 8, 2016, 12:57 am IST
Updated Aug 8, 2016, 7:18 am IST
The Side Stretch (Standing)
 The Side Stretch (Standing)

Our busy schedules do not leave much time for a healthy lifestyle, with little or no energy to maintain a daily exercise regime. Strangely enough, we often tend to associate exercise with weights and gymming, forgetting that there are a host of exercises one can do in the comfort of one’s home too.

One such routine is the stretching routine, by no means an intense workout, it is ideal for a busy daily schedule. Give yourself 20 minutes in the evening or in the morning for a stretching routine. It promises to leave you feeling completely relaxed and rejuvenated.

The benefits of a good stretching routine are many fold — it increases the efficiency of movement, decreases the risk of muscular injury, improves blood and nutrient supply to joint structures, decreases the risk of lower back pain and reduces muscular tension. Stretching also accords improved balance and postural awareness leading to a better over-all muscular health.

The routine created here is a basic one that can be done every day and it takes up only 20 minutes. A complete routine, one must deepen each stretch with every exhalation; stop the stretches if you feel any discomfort or strain.

The writer Manish Jaswal is the director of Spa. The exercises have been performed by Shalini MS, a fitness instructor.

The Side Stretch (Standing)
Stand with your feet together and your arms straight overhead. In this position, clasp your hands together, with your fingers interlaced and fingers extended. Inhale as you reach upward as if trying to reach something on a high shelf. Breathe out as you bend your upper body to the right. Take five slow breaths. Slowly return to the centre. Repeat this stretch on the left side for five counts. Do a total of four stretches in this position.

 The Forward Stretch (Hang forward)
Stand with your feet apart at hip-distance and your knees slightly bent, do not let your knees lock straight in this position. Interlace your fingers behind your back, if you are unable to do this, hold on to a dish towel. Breathe in and straighten your arms to expand your chest. Exhale and bend at your waist, while sucking your tummy in, and letting your hands stretch forward over your head. Hold this position for five deep breaths. Repeat four times on both sides.

The Calf Stretch
Lower yourself into a lunge, with your hands shoulder-distance apart in front of you. Stretch your right leg back while pushing against the heel of your foot, putting pressure on your calf. Hold this position for five deep breaths. Repeat with the left calf. The greater the angle of your foot, the more it stretches and works out for your upper and lower calves.

Hamstring Stretch
Step with your right foot forward, and lower yourself into a lunge, placing your fingertips on the floor in front of you. Breathe in, and then in one motion, exhale as you straighten your right leg. Slowly return to the lunge position. Repeat this stretch on the right side four times. Switch sides for the next four lunges.

Shoulder Stretch
The shoulder stretch can be done sitting down or standing up. For maximum stretch, a sitting position works out the best. It is also the easiest stretching position to hold. Simply press while pulling your opposite elbow towards your opposite shoulder. This is also a stretching exercise that can be performed at any time in the day, especially helpful in relieving stress when one has to sit for long hours in the office.

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