I tend to stress people out when I write about how much stress can affect your weight.
It’s not a scare tactic, really. Call it more of an awareness tactic.
And if I am stressing you out, then I feel obligated to tell you about some surefire ways you can reduce stress. One of them may surprise you: It’s stretching.
Stretching? Like what you do before you exercise?
Exactly. Stretching can help move toxins out of the muscles, including lactic acid. Combined with deep breathing, it can help you unwind and relax.
And I can’t over-emphasize the importance of relaxation enough. If you’re relaxed, your body won’t kick out overloads of cortisol, or limit your supply of the all-important hormone DHEA, responsible for anti-aging, libido stimulating and fat burning.
So let’s start stretching, shall we?
I’ve attached a few pictures of some great stretches you can do around the office. Give them a shot. Now you may get a few funny looks as you begin loosening hamstrings while making photocopies, but you may just inspire some co-workers to join in.
When you stretch, hold these poses 10-20 seconds, until you feel slight tension. Then relax for 10 seconds, stretch slightly further, and hold again for another 10-20 seconds.
Relax during the stretch, and don’t bounce or jerk. If it hurts, STOP! Pain can mean that your muscle is about to get tighter than when you started.
Be sure to incorporate deep breathing exercises into the mix. It enhances the stretch and gives your body the oxygen it needs.
When should you stretch?
When should you sneak these stretches in? Pace yourself throughout the day. Whenever you’re feeling a little tight, push back the chair and stretch out.
If you exercise during the day, be sure to stretch before and after the workout. Those post-workout stretches help move toxins out of the muscles, helping reduce soreness. It also brings oxygen-rich blood into the muscles.
Deep breathing is critical throughout, as it increases your flexibility.
Stretching has so many positive benefits beyond relaxing your body and helping work out toxins in the muscles. It also prepares your joints for activity, and helps extend the range of motion of your muscles. It can prevent injuries, too.
So don’t stretch for that bag of potato chips – stretch to relieve stress and lose weight the natural way!