5 stretches to recharge your mind and body
Our muscles automatically tense up when we're stressed. Cue stretches that can be done from bed or outside to get the brain juices flowing again.
We all know the benefits of meditation and mindfulness, but did you know that stretching your body can also help deliver mental clarity and relieve muscle tension? Stretching is one of the most productive things you can do during your study break or when you wake up in the morning.
Try these exercises to decompress next time you're feeling a little tense.
1. Full body stretch
Lying on your back, stretch your arms above your head and extend your toes into a full body stretch. Doing this as soon as you wake up helps to release tightness in the body that's built up overnight. Repeat as needed to get the blood flowing.
2. Knees-to-chest (knee hug)
Hug your knees to your chest and gently rock backwards and forwards and side to side. This motion helps massage your back and spine – perfect after a long study session.
3. Child's pose
With your knees bent, sit on your heels and lean your upper body forward towards the ground. You can extend your arms in front of you or keep them behind, but place your forehead on the ground. This pose will force you to focus on and slow down your breathing. Slow, deep breaths are how we breathe when we're relaxed and at ease.
4. Cobra stretch
Lying on your stomach, use your hands to push your chest up off the ground. This stretches the chest, back, shoulders and core, opening up your heart and lungs. With better circulation and oxygen supply in these areas, you'll feel refreshed and ready to have another go at studying.
5. Reach for your toes
After hitting the books, do this full-body stretch to loosen your back muscles and boost blood and oxygen circulation around your legs and joints. This is an easy and healthy way to cap off the day.
Don't worry if you can't touch your toes. It's more important to extend your arms and feel the stretch in your legs in this exercise. When we sit for a long time, our mobility is reduced. This can limit out movements. With a little warm-up and repetition, you might find you're able to reach further.