For many of us stress relief is as elusive as the fountain of youth, but thanks to Elyse Briggs, Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, her latest Stretch in Time DVD series (The Basics: 5 Simple Exercises to Get You Started and Balance: Build Strength – Gain Confidence) is based on the idea that the simplest of exercises are often the ones that do the most good. Many doctors are constantly on the run, and in this interview with Aesthetic Insider™ Elyse explains how taking a few minutes each day to do some basic yoga style stretching may make a big difference in overall general health, flexibility and energy levels. To learn more, visit www.stretchintime.com.
At five o’clock in the evening most of us are racing somewhere and the demands of everyday life turns many of us into long distance runners, moving from one task to the next is a seemingly never ending race. That nagging feeling of always being behind schedule can lead to dangerous stress levels that jeopardize your work and threaten physical and mental wellbeing. The list of physical complaints from time-stressed individuals is growing longer by the year: anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, body aches and sleepless nights. Add in irritability and low energy levels and you have a perfect storm of symptoms that will take their toll on you if not addressed daily.
The real challenge, however, is finding quick and easy ways to relieve stress, because unless you decide to quit your day job and settle on an exotic island somewhere, your daily schedule and increased levels of stress is going to be with you. So when every minute counts, how do you find enough time in the day to stop and heal yourself?
The answer is simpler and more enjoyable than you think: Yoga-like poses – on the go: exercises that will help bring a strong sense of balance into your body, giving not only Seniors but everyone, physical and mental wellness, stability and confidence in motion for the rest of their lives.
“My motto is to keep exercise simple so you are more likely to continue it. And it works,” says Briggs, herself a bundle of yoga-induced energy. “If your work schedule doesn’t allow for a trip to the gym, just grab a chair and do these easy exercises at your desk. You’ll be refreshed and invigorated within minutes.”
Briggs developed the following five exercises and stretches to relieve the physical and mental stress many of us experience on the job. You can feel better in as little as five minutes – and all without rolling out your yoga mat.
Downward Facing Dog with chair – Relieves tight shoulders, hamstrings and lower back pain. Position a stationery chair against a wall. Stand and hold onto front edges of seat. Inhale, and on an exhale step back, knees bent and hips lifted. Chest presses toward thighs, spine lengthens as you try to straighten your legs. Breathe for 30-60 seconds.
Backbend with chair – A reverse spine stretch for lower back fatigue. Sit near the edge of the chair with hands on the side edges. Walk your feet forward, lifting your hips and coming into reverse plank. Shoulders are over wrists, arms and legs are straight. On the inhale with feet planted, lift your hips toward the ceiling. On an exhale arch your back. Breathe. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
Twist – Relieves back pain, lower back tension and aids digestion. Sit in the chair with shoulders and hips aligned. Inhale, and then on an exhale, leading with your navel, slowly turn to the right, placing your hands onto the arms or back of the chair. Inhale and move back to the center for a few breaths. Inhale again and repeat to the left side. Hold each side 30-60 seconds.
Forward Fold – Release neck tension, lower back and spine tension and pain. Sit near the edge of the chair, feet more than shoulder-width apart. Inhale and raise arms overhead, palms facing each other. On an exhale and with a long spine, hinge at the hips and slowly lower your body and let hands reach the floor. Breathe. Hold for 30-60 seconds. For more of a stretch, grab the two front legs of the chair and with feet planted, straighten your arms, lengthen your spine and lift up. Hold for 30-60 seconds. Breathe. Then relax back into the forward fold. Come up carefully, hands on knees, pushing back up to your original seated position.
Relax with legs up the wall – A restorative pose for aching legs and lower back pain. Lie with your back on the floor, bottom and hips as close to the wall as possible. Straighten legs up the wall. Lie with arms outstretched and palms facing up. Breathe and relax for five minutes or longer.
Simply put, five minutes of stress relieving yoga like poses daily will change life for the better as it is possible to limit the negative effects of high stress levels through incorporating these easy exercises into your day. Working just one exercise an hour into your schedule means one less minute of stress, and many more minutes of good health. We are all aging and since we are, why not do it gracefully.
Sources: Watch the trailer for Stretch In Time DVDs The BASICS: 5 Simple Exercises to Get You Started and BALANCE” Build Strength – Gain Confidence available at www.stretchintime.com.
Disclaimer: Consult your physician before engaging in any form of exercise.