Travelling this holiday season? Flying, driving, commuting are all stressful on the body. Stress on the body precipitates stress in the mind. Do yourself (and your family) a favor and S T R E T C H while you travel. It will keep you sane and prevent stiff achy joints.
Here are 5 easy and effective stretches you can do while travelling (and in public) that won’t have you looking like a total lunatic.
1. The T W IS T
Improve circulation in your lower back by doing a simple twist. Plant your feet firmly on the floor. Place your left hand on the outside of your right knee and inhale deeply. As you exhale, slowly twist to the right. Be sure to keep your posture upright, like there’s a balloon attached to the top of your head. If you’re comfortable in the twist, on another exhale look all the way over your right shoulder to include your head and neck in the stretch. Repeat on the other side.
2. The A B C s
Close your eyes. Starting with your left foot, roll your ankle in 3 – 5 big circles; then using your big toe like an imaginary stilo, write each letter of the alphabet in the air. (Capital letters please.) Repeat on the other side, and repeat every hour to prevent swelling in the feet when you land #cankles
3. The S E L F – L O V E
Hey, you’ve earned this one. Wrapping your arms around yourself like you’re giving yourself a hug. Then squeeze, trying to touch your shoulder blades with your fingertips. To deepen the stretch, do mini arching (on an inhale) and hunching (on an exhale) of your upper back. For extra credit, gently lean your head to one side and then to the other. Whatever you do, make sure you switch which arm is on top and repeat.
4. The F I G U R E F O U R
Your hips are the largest joints in your body; they feedback to our central nervous systems. That’s why hip stretches feel intense at first. And if you breathe through them, blissful. A simple seated figure-four can release both hips and lower back. Bend your right knee, lift and place your right ankle on your left knee or thigh. For some of us, this feels pretty intense – continue to breathe deeply. If this is easy for you, on an exhale begin to fold at the hips. Keep that foot flexed to protect the knee. Repeat on the other side.
5. The S H R U G
On an inhale, roll your shoulder heads forward and up towards your ears. Really scrunch. On the next exhale release the shoulders down
the back. Keep rolling the shoulders up and back with deep respiration. To intensify, press your palms together while you shrug it out.
Don’t forget to roll forwards too.
image courtesy of GQ.com