Many people at some points in their life will experience phases of not feeling like they have the ability or inclination to be as active as they usually are. Work, family, home pressures can all trigger the stresses that make us feel this way, and as the nation enters coronavirus lockdown there will be many who feel its just not the right time to be hugely active.
Our advice at this time - or any other time of stress - is not to put yourself under un-necessary pressures where it isn’t needed. If you want to use time away from your usual routine to work on your fitness, then that’s great – go you! If you want to reconnect with yourself, your loved ones and are taking one day at a time, then that’s great too. Listen to your body and do whatever is best for you in the here and now - even if that changes on a daily basis.
Obviously, we still encourage people to keep moving and exercising through the current isolation where its possible to do so safely. As per our previous blog post on how to adapt your routine to unusual circumstances [Read here], it is important for both physical and mental wellbeing to stay active if you can. The government have even highlighted this again in their most recent guidelines when stipulating the reasons to leave home during this period of isolation:
“One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household”
We encourage anyone who can leave the house each day to do so (within current guidelines of course). If this isn’t an option for you or the sound of a home workout fills you with dread – then why not include stretching into your daily routine?
Stretching is a great way to start the day, end the day or simply whenever you have an opportunity to fit it in.
Why should you stretch? It is a common misconception that the main purpose of stretching is prevent injury pre or post exercising, but this is not true. There are plenty of other positives to stretching that we can all benefit from:
Increased flexibility & range of movement (ROM)
By regularly stretching, you are helping to keep your muscles flexible, strong and healthy. This flexibility in turn helps us to maintain range of motion (ROM) of our joints. Without regular stretching it is possible for muscles to become short and tight. Unfortunately, this can put you at a higher risk for joint pain, strains and muscle damage when you move your body outside of your current ROM and flexibility.
The job we have can quite often have a huge impact on our posture, whether we have an active or sedentary role. In fact, any job where the spine is forced out of a neutral posture can have a negative impact on health and wellbeing. Neutral posture refers to the correct alignment of the body’s segments when standing, which places the least stress on the muscles, joints and other tissues whilst remaining balanced. For example, those working in offices will quite often stretch the muscles in the neck and back, which subsequently causes chest muscles to become tightened. It is therefore important to try and stretch out the muscles which have become tightened by bad posture. This can help reduce and even prevent aches and pains caused by bad posture. Good posture also optimises breathing and affects the circulation of bodily fluids.
When we are stressed, it is common for muscles to become tight and strained. Stretching these muscles can help to relieve this physical tension. Many people also find that stretching is great for mental health as it is a great way to clear the mind, slow down and even get some peace and quiet!
So why not give it a go? There are plenty of stretching videos available online that you can chose from to suit your goals, current flexibility and even how much time you have. But as always, get in contact if you would like any additional advice on anything mentioned in this blog.
Lee & the Team