Fitness Post – Exercises to Release Tension 

With this second post in the series of exercises to release tension I want to give you specific exercises you can do at home, but best to get someone to check that you are doing them correctly. Better still, have a few sessions with an Exercise Therapist to ensure that you are doing them correctly…

At I indicated in my first post, people suffer from bodily tension for various reasons…some people seem to be born tense. Whatever the reason/s you can greatly relieve the tension you have by exercising, and as I said, I will outline some specific exercises for you to do, but as a prerequisite, think about using the myriad of tension-releasing programs you can get free on the Internet to help release psychological tension, because they go hand in hand. The mind controls the body after all!

A lot of pain suffered manifests itself in the back, or spine specifically and there will associated pain either down the arms and/or legs, but concentrate on relieving the pressure in the spine. The two safest positions are on the back and on all fours (hands and knees). I will start by outlining a group of exercises you do lying on your back but I want to point out that it is essential (and I hope I have made that clear!) you do the exercises slowly.  Take your time. I will outline briefly 12 exercises. The first 8 on your back and the last 4 on your hands and knees. Pause at the end range of the movements, but don’t hold for more than a moment. Breath naturally and rhythmically and don’t hold your breath. Relax and concentrate on what you are doing.

Exercises on your back

Before you start, lie down on comfortable mat or rug and stretch your arms out beyond your head and point your toes as you stretch your legs out straight. Breathe. Relax. Then put your mind into what you’re doing. If you are into meditation, do that beforehand. If you’re not , while lying there breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7, then breathe out for a count of 8. Do this 4 times only. This will help you relax.

  1. While lying in a straight position, point one foot towards your head while pointing the other foot in the opposite direction. Do this slowly and alternate feet until you have done this for a count of 8,(each foot pointing towards and away from your head 8 times).
  2. Your arms should be relaxed and by your sides. Then slide each foot along the floor until your knee cannot bend any more comfortably as your heal gets close to your butt. Then slide it away until your leg is straight again. Repeat this movement with the other leg. Do this for one slow breath in and one slow breath out. Repeat 8 times each leg.
  3. Straight Leg Lift. Lift one straight leg at a time until it has reached as high as it can, keeping your hips on the mat. Pause, the slowly lower it. Repeat with other leg. Do 8 repetitions each leg lift.
  4. Have both knees bent as you still lie comfortably on your back. Keep on foot flat on the floor while raising the other foot and touch the sole of this foot on the other raised knee. Slowly lower it and repeat this movement with the other leg. Do 8 repetitions each leg.
  5. Keeping the soles of both feet on the mat while both knees are still bent, rock both raised knees to each side until they either reach the floor (or as close as you can comfortably reach). The photo above gives you an idea of this movement, but keep the soles of both feet on the floor to start. Do 8 sideways movement each side. 
  6. Now straighten your legs and raise one bent knee at a time and pause at the top of the movement while you grasp your raised knee with both hands. Arms are straight. Slowly lower the leg and repeat for 8 slow repetitions each leg.
  7. Then raise both bent legs at a time, grasping your knees with your hands and hold this top position for a few seconds before you slowly straighten them. Repeat this exercise for a total of three repetitions.
  8. Legs straight and oth arms straight out and in line with your shoulders. Keeping both legs straight and as still as possible, and keeping your arms straight, roll to one side as you twist at the waist and touch one palm to the other. Roll back and repeat this movement to the other side. Do a count of 8 repetitions each side.

Exercises on All Fours

  1. While on all fours, bring one bent knee across under your body to touch the mat close to the opposite hand, then slide it back to the starting position. There is a slight twist at your waist with this movement. Repeat this movement for a count of 8 repetitions, alternating each leg.
  2. While in this same position, slide one foot at a time backwards until the leg is straight. Pause and slide it back before repeating for a count of 8 each leg.
  3. Bird Dog exercise. Straighten one leg out back and the opposite arm out the front and hold both limbs there for a moment before bringing them back to the starting position (see photo) and repeat with the alternate limbs. Eight repetitions each side

4. Skin the Cat Exercise. On all fours and limbs stationary arch your back upwards, pause, then downwards. 8 repetitions each way.

Finish the session with either a Yoga Child’s Pose and/or Sphinx Pose until you feel completely relaxed. Should take about 15 minutes. Could take longer if you move slower. Is up to you but this session should relieve your back pain. It works as long as you do it. You can do this session every day if you have a lot of tension.

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