Stretch out

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes

In contrast to our mind, by exercising and stretching our body, we can improve its dimensions, even if we don’t regain ‘old’ dimensions of a youthful leaness.

Alongside exercise as suggested last month, there’s also some easy movements that can be done while sitting at your desk, at a bus stop or train station, on a bus or train, doing the washing up …. you might attract some strange looks, so perhaps choose the more discreet exercises for public places!

Breathing – an obvious place to start – not only does deep breathing calm us, it helps to clear out ‘stale’ carbon dioxide rich air and inhale new fresh oxygenated air to ‘feed’ our systems.

Sitting or standing comfortably, preferably near an open window or possibly outside, take a slow, deep breath into your tummy for a count of 5, and hold for a count of 5 before releasing the breath slowly through your mouth to a count of 5. Continue this deep breathing as you do the following exercises.

Shoulder shrug – raise your shoulders towards your ears and hold the feeling of tension for 3 to 5 seconds, then drop them.

Shoulder Shrug

Sideward neck stretch – making sure you keep your head facing forward, imagine you’ve got a heavy bag on each shoulder and that you’re ‘wedged between two walls to keep your head from dropping forwards or backwards, tilt your head slowly down to each shoulder in turn until you feel a good, even stretch. You can gently ease your head down with your hand to give a stronger stretch.

Sideward Neck Stretch

Neck turn stretch – keeping your shoulders pulled down as in the above exercise and with your head level turn your chin to one side until you feel a stretch on the other side of your neck. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds and then turn to the other side.

Neck Turn Stretch

Repeat breathing and exercises five times each, trying to keep an even rhythm.

Perhaps when you reach for a packet of crisps, a chocolate bar or a cigarette, you could try one or two of these exercises – if nothing else, it makes you more aware of what you’re doing – then take a moment to see if you notice any difference in how you feel.

If you come for a treatment, I can incorporate some of these stretches and work out with you other exercises that might help keep you flexible.

‘Southwell Life’ – April 2006

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