The world is currently very scary and weird. We’re all acutely aware that exercise can help us get out of a mental funk during the coronavirus pandemic, but sometimes nothing sounds worse than a home workout.
But know this: However much or little you are moving, you are doing just fine. There is no guidebook for coping with this endless bombardment of headlines, bad news, sluggishness and disruption in your routine. You are no less worthy if you’re not exercising.
So how can you reap the mental benefit of exercise when you just can’t fathom working up a sweat? There is one move you can do that requires very little effort ― stretching.
Stretching — not even yoga, just stretching — can be a really simple and successful way to move your body and that taking breaks throughout the day actually improves your productivity and sense of well-being. Making those breaks stretch breaks only increases those benefits.
Other Stretching Exercises To Try
In addition to a static stretch, there are a few other moves you can attempt. Try some of these below — remembering to breathe and be gentle with yourself — and figure out which ones you like best. Soon enough, you’ll see that incorporating just a few of these movements into your day can work wonders.
This neck-relief stretch is especially helpful for anyone who looks at screens all day (read: most of us). “We hold a lot of tension in our head muscles and our neck,” Wu said. This neck side-bend can help relieve much of that, and you don’t even have to leave your desk to perform it.
Pectoralis Major Doorway Stretch
If you’ve got a doorway, you’ve got a stretching studio. Maybe it’s not obvious that your pec muscles need relief. But according to Gary, the tightness in these muscles often results in back and shoulder pain, and this type of stretch can help.
Seated Piriformis Figure 4 Stretch
Another stretch you can do without getting up from your chair, this move helps relieve tension all over. The more you sit, the tighter your hip flexors will be, Wu said, so consider prioritizing this one if you find yourself seated often. You might also try this stretch while lying on your back (here’s a tutorial).
Both experts recommend this one as well. You can really do this stretch anywhere; if you’re waiting in line at the grocery store, soothe some of your body’s stiffness, being sure to trade off between sides.
While this move is more dynamic than static, it can help loosen you up after a day of little movement.