It’s true, exercise has a lot of physical benefits. It can lower the risk of chronic disease, build your muscles and bones, improve sleep quality, and increase your energy levels. But we often forget that the mind and body are linked: Working out can also do wonders for your mental health.
We all experience stress and anxiety—some more than others. So for days when you’re feeling tense, there are actually certain workout moves you can do to release some of that. There’s also the option of making it a habit to do these relaxing exercises as part of your morning routine so your day is off to a good start.
- Start in a kneeling position with your knees hip-distance apart.
- Inhale deeply and as you exhale, lay your torso over your thighs. Reach your arms forward and rest your butt onto your heels.
- Lengthen your neck and spine and rest your forehead on your mat.
- You should feel a stretch on your butt, hips, and arms. Hold this pose for 30 seconds.
Downward Facing Dog
- Start in a tabletop position, with your hands underneath your shoulders and hips stacked over the knees. Spread your hands wide and ground yourself on the mat.
- Lift your butt up and back, lifting your hips toward the ceiling. Straighten your legs and press your heels gently on the floor.
- Keep your head relaxed between your arms and face your knees. Make sure your shoulders are pulled back. Stretch your hamstrings, calves, back, and shoulders. Hold it for 30 seconds.
- From a Downward Facing Dog, extend your right leg high behind you.
- Once you’re steady, bring your right leg underneath your body and place it in front of you. Your foot can be tucked close to your hips if that makes it easier.
- Extend your left leg behind you and rest the top of your foot on the mat. Make sure to flex your right foot.
- You should feel a stretch in your right hip. Hold this for 30 seconds before switching to the other side.
- Start in a tabletop position, with your hands underneath your shoulders and hips stacked over the knees.
- Inhale deeply and as you exhale, round your spine and drop your head toward the floor to complete the Cat part of this pose.
- Take a deep breath and lift your head, chest, and tailbone toward the ceiling as you arch your back. This is now the Cow pose.
- Feel the stretch in your spine, shoulders, and maybe your butt. Complete 15 reps.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your legs straight without locking your knees before letting your upper body hang down.
- Tuck your chin in, relax your shoulders, and lengthen your spine.
- If you can, you can touch the floor with your hands or allow your arms to dangle. Some people also choose to hold their elbows.
- Feel the stretch in your back and hamstrings, and stay there for 30 seconds.
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