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3 Stretches for Comfort and Stress Relief

By Genevieve Cunningham

Most people don't stretch their bodies enough. We rarely think about the impact of inflexibility on our lives, but the effects are damaging to our overall wellness. Inflexibility affects the manner in which we can move, and it also affects the stress that we feel on a daily basis. But there's good news: Incorporating a few specific stretches into your life might enhance your comfort while simultaneously reducing your stress. Sounds good, right? If you're anxious to improve flexibility and lower stress, take a look at these three stretches to start doing right now.

The Forward Fold

The forward fold is so good at releasing both tension and stress. Why? Because it's a stretch for the large muscle group in the legs: the hamstring. The hamstring is a place where almost everyone holds tension. When we stretch this area of the body, it provides a massive sense of release. To perform the forward fold, you'll stand straight up with your feet together. Then bend at the waist, reaching toward the floor, your toes, or as low as you can reach without pain. Stay in the hold for 10 seconds or so, and then repeat every day.

The Hip Stretch

Many exercise specialists claim that tension is often held in the hips. They claim that releasing tension from the hips is so powerful that it can actually cause an emotional response. Crazy, right? But if this is true, it's worth a shot. To do a hip stretch, you'll stand in a basic lunge position -- one leg forward and one back. Slowly lower the back knee to the ground. Put your hands on your hips and gently push your hips forward while keeping your back upright. You should feel the stretch in the front of your hip on the back leg. Switch legs. Repeat as often as necessary.

Cobra or Up Dog

Even if you don't do yoga, there are some stretches that can bring your body some benefit. One such stretch is the baby cobra or up dog position. This will release tension from our back while also strengthening your back muscles. It's a win-win posture. To do either of these poses, lie on your stomach with your feet together. Place your palms on the ground next to your chest and keep your elbows close to the body. Slowly raise your head and chest off the ground. Hold. When you get more accustomed to the move, you'll raise your chest all the way up until your arms are straight for the more traditional up dog position. 

Stretching is undoubtedly good for the body. It improves flexibility and helps you stay healthy as a whole. If you're unsure of any of the moves, just do a quick internet search for an instructional site or video. Stretch with these a little every day, and you'll be feeling better in your body and mind in no time at all.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Santa Ana, Calif.

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