Effective Moves for Stress Management

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De-Stress Standing Forward Bend: If you feel anxious or stressed, a quick time-out can help. Try this simple yoga move. Stand straight, legs together. As you breathe in, raise your arms high over your head. Bend forward at your hips as you breathe out, keeping your upper body aligned. Grasp your calves or ankles. Breathe deeply and hold about a minute. Breathe in and slowly come back up, head and arms lose and relaxed, to standing.

Hand Pain: Fingertip Touch

Arthritis is the usual suspect if you have hand pain. Give this hardworking body part a break with this mini finger workout. Point your hand upward, fingers close together. Slowly touch your index finger to your thumb to make an β€œO.” Move your thumb on to the middle finger and do the same, and so on to your ring finger and pinkie. Smoothly repeat these motions several times with each hand.

Stiff Hips: Reclined Half Pigeon

Your hips can get stiff, especially if you sit for much of the day. This yoga pose offers them a well-deserved stretch. Lie on your back with knees bent. Cross one ankle over the opposite knee. Bring your legs toward your chest. Grab the bottom leg below the knee to hold the pose. For a more intense stretch, pull gently.

Tension Headache: Neck Stretch

Suffer from tension headaches? It can help to build strength in your neck and shoulders, a Danish study found. Try this super-simple stretch to support the neck muscles that keep your head upright and ease stress in your head and neck. Bring your chin toward your throat in a gentle nod. Hold for 10 seconds, and repeat 10 times.

Lower Back Pain: Pelvic Tilt

A whopping 80% to 90% of Americans have back pain during their lifetimes. The main cause? Back strain. Try a pelvic tilt exercise. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Tighten your stomach muscles as you press the small of your back to the floor. Hold for 5 seconds, and then relax. Repeat several times. Try to build up to 10.

Heel Pain: Toe Curls

If you have pain in your heel — around where tissue in the arch of your foot connects to your heel bone — you might be one of about 3 million people who have plantar fasciitis. Age, being overweight, and standing on a hard surface a lot can all figure into it. Place a small towel on the floor. With your painful foot, reach for the towel with your toes. Curl your foot to bring the towel toward you with only your toes. Relax and repeat 10 times.

Foot Cramps: Towel Stretch

You’re having a lovely dream, then … ouch! A painful foot spasm jolts you awake. Reasons for this sudden muscle stiffness can include dehydration or poor circulation. Grab a towel and sit. Stretch your legs in front of you, pointing the toes of the cramped foot toward the ceiling. Loop the towel around your foot and hold the ends with both hands. Lift your leg until you feel a nice stretch.

Sciatica: Seated Figure Four Stretch

Sciatica is pain along the nerve that runs from the back of your pelvis down the back of your thigh.

Try stretching the piriformis, the muscle from your lower spine to the top of your thigh. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Lift the leg on the side that hurts and cross that ankle over the opposite knee. Gently bend forward from the hips. Hold for 15-30 seconds, and release πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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