Wipe Away Holiday Stress With Towel Stretch (and Others) - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Wipe Away Holiday Stress With Towel Stretch (and Others)

A Fitness Minute from "Healthy Women Take 10," the Monthly Email Newsletter of The National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC).

You're standing in the long line at the warehouse club, with two more stops to go before heading home. You were late getting out of work and you still need to mix up your grandmother's famous cookie dough recipe.

At the holidays, there's never enough time. The result: stress-which builds up without our realizing it, creating physical and mental stiffness. "Stretching is an effective strategy to aid in the relief of stress. It lengthens the muscles to relieve tension," says Jaime Longval, M.S., a certified strength and conditioning specialist at Brown University and The Miriam Hospital Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine in Providence, RI.

Stretching can be done almost anywhere. Longval suggests these quick ways to relax your body and spirit:

Upper Back Stretch:

  • Stand with your knees slightly bent or sit up straight.
  • Clasp your hands in front of you, arms parallel to floor.
  • Keep your head relaxed.
  • Round your upper back. Push hands forward, palms away from body.
  • Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, breathing steadily. Repeat 2-5 times.

Neck Stretch:

  • Stand with your knees slightly bent or sit up straight.
  • Drop chin to your chest.
  • Place hands on back of head. Gently push down until you feel slight stretch.
  • Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, breathing steadily. Repeat 2-5 times.

Towel Stretch for Legs:

  • Dish or hand towels can help you stretch.
  • Lay on your back, abdominal muscles tightened, knees bent, feet on floor.
  • Extend one leg toward ceiling. Keep knee slightly bent.
  • Place towel behind back of leg or ankle (not behind knee), holding both ends.
  • Pull towel toward your chest until you feel stretch.
  • Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, breathing steadily. Repeat 2-5 times.

Fitness Minutes are part of the monthly email newsletter "HealthyWomen Take 10," published by the National Women's Health Resource Center.

To subscribe, go online to www.healthywomen.org. The NWHRC is the nation's leading independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to educating women of all ages about health and wellness issues.

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