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Feeling Stressed? Stretch It Out

A couple doing leg stretches outdoors
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To maintain a healthy and active lifestyle at every age, we want to empower you with tips to help you achieve a healthier you — even with something as simple as stretching.

Whether you’re at your desk all day or toting the kids around, chances are your back, shoulders or neck could be feeling a bit tight.

“Throughout the day, tension can build up in your muscles. Stretching relieves this tension by encouraging blood flow to your body, and can give you a little boost of energy, too,” says Arianna Becker, DO, our family medicine physician who serves patients ages 18 and up at the Center for Health & Wellbeing in Winter Park.

The next time you’re feeling stressed, take a quick break to stretch. Here are a few tips from Dr. Becker to get your best stretch and feel better faster.

 

Relax Your Shoulders

It’s easy to find yourself hunched over the computer in the middle of the day. You may not even notice what you’re doing until you feel a twinge in your neck or tightness in your shoulders. Shoulder rolls are a great way to take a quick break from a full inbox. Here’s how to do them:

  • Sit up straight in your chair with your feet flat on the floor
  • Lift your shoulders up toward your ears
  • Slowly roll your shoulders back and breathe deeply
  • Repeat up to 10 times

 

Loosen Your Neck

Looking down at a desk all day can give anyone a crick in the neck. Next time you’re feeling the tension of a busy workday rising to your neck, try a few simple neck rolls:

  • Gently lower your head to one shoulder
  • Slowly roll your neck forward and to the other shoulder
  • Repeat 10 times

 

Get Up and Move

It can get uncomfortable sitting in a chair after a while. Take a break to destress and improve blood flow by getting up and moving around. Do a few simple stretches as you move:

  • Gently swing your arms from side to side
  • Do calf raises and stretches
  • Lunge to help loosen hamstrings and quads
  • Loosen your hips and IT band (bring your right foot behind the left and your arms over your head and lean toward the left)
  • Hold for up to 10 seconds, switch legs, bringing the left behind the right and lean toward the right

If you feel self-conscious stretching in the middle of the office, head to an empty conference room. Or, head outside to a more private space. This time away can help you refresh your body and recharge your mind, making it easier to focus on work.

 

Make Stretching a Regular Part of Your Day

When stretching is part of your daily routine, you’ll find you feel better and are more productive. Schedule regular stretching breaks for yourself to feel better physically. Put it on your calendar and get into the habit of taking care of your body, mind and spirit throughout your day.

“Your body will thank you for making stretching a part of your day,” says Dr. Becker.

 

Where Wellness Meets Community

Dr. Becker and other AdventHealth Medical Group physicians offer family medicine care at the Center for Health & Wellbeing in Winter Park — a state-of-the-art center developed through years of collaboration between the Winter Park Health Foundation and AdventHealth. Offering a fully integrated, innovative health experience, this center is dedicated to empowering you to live your best life in body, mind and spirit.

For more information on how to achieve whole-person health, visit YourHealthandWellbeing.org and CentralFloridaPrimaryCare.com.

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