5 quick, easy stress-relieving stretches

Posted at 11:47 AM, Jan 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-23 11:47:05-05

Stress is normal, but when it lasts too long it can have serious health effects — especially for those age 50 and older — including weight gain, increased risk of chronic disease, memory loss and hypertension.

According to Michelle Buker, director of wellness at Colonial in Southwest Ohio and expert on active aging, an important part of stress management is stretching out tense muscles.

Here are some simple stretches to ease tension.

Neck stretches: In a chair or sitting up straight on the ground, slowly bend your neck to the left side, touching your ear to your shoulder. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds before switching to the right side. You can also look up at the ceiling, hold the stretch for 15 seconds, and then look down for 15 seconds.

Seated back stretch: Sitting straight up without your back resting against the back of the chair, slowly twist your body to the right, placing your right hand gently on the back of the chair for support and your left hand on the outside of your right leg. Return to center. Do the same thing to the left side. This will stretch out your sides and your lower back.

Child’s pose: Kneeling on a mat with knees hip-width apart and sitting on your heels, bring your upper torso forward and down until you assume the worship position.

Shoulder shrugs: Begin by raising your shoulders up and down repeatedly to get the blood flowing in the shoulder and neck area. Then, hold your shoulders up for a couple seconds and slowly roll them back.

Arm stretches: There are several arm stretches that you can do sitting in a chair while at work. Begin by sitting straight up on the edge of your chair. Intertwining your hands behind your back, arch your shoulders for a good shoulder and back stretch. Hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds. Then, take intertwined hands and reach them forward, pushing away from your chest. This will stretch out the shoulders, fingers and arms.

Emily Glaser writes about the diverse wellness needs of older adults for Your Time, a Community First Solutions publication for people age 50 and older. Community First Solutions is based in Hamilton, Ohio.


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