Fitness Post – Various Stretches to Relieve Tension

A few clients have complained of tension in different parts of the body over the years so I will go over a few that are the most common.

 Sometimes people have slept in the wrong position and they wake up with a stiff neck or they may feel tension in the muscles at the back of the neck on top of the shoulders (called Trapezius muscles). They may even feel pain that extends to the top of their head. Clients also may have overdone an exercise or they feel some stress for various reasons. The best stretch exercise I’ve found to be effective in this muscle group should be done standing and placing your arm out to the side at shoulder height. I’ve only found a picture with someone getting into the correct position while seated so if you cannot find  suitable surface to use such as a tall chest of draws, do this on a table but make sure that your arm is at shoulder height and no lower. Keeping your eyes looking straight ahead slowly move your head to the tight side and hold the end position for 30 seconds while breathing slowly and evenly. You may feel tightness in both shoulders so change to your other arm and stretch that the same way. Even if you don’t have tightness in both Trapezius muscles you should do this stretch both sides.

I posted about working on the feet recently but if you have tightness in the muscles intrinsic to the feet or you have one or two sore spots then you should sit and place a golf ball under the soles of your feet and roll it around. You can use as much pressure as you can stand and can do this exercise while watching television if you want. Spend 5 minutes on each foot.

For this next stretch you need to have access to a foam roller. If you are tight around the hips or have tight thighs, using a foam roller such as in the picture below and rolling over your tight spots will help relieve the tension there. You can spend 1 – 2 minutes doing this. 

Another good shoulder and lower back stretch is the Yoga Child’s Pose such as in the picture below. You can do a variation of this by straightening your legs. This places more emphasis on both your shoulders if you do it correctly and also stretches your Hamstrings and Achilles Tendons at the same time. This particular position though is a great relaxing position after a workout.

It’s amazing to me why people put up with so much tension and pain without doing these types of  stretch exercises. The stretches don’t take long to do and you only need the minimum equipment. Still, pain is something we should put up with.Right?

I posted a routine several weeks ago that shows you how to get rid of whole-body pain that works the spine in several positions and when concentrating on your breathing, will help relieve stress. As I’ve said before, what is your pain worth to you?

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