Total Health

The Awkward Stretch (How to Fit In More Stretches)

Are your muscles feeling tight but you just can`t seem to fit more stretching into your day? Gidon Gabbay, owner and operator of G Force Fitness, has been feeling the same way recently, and developed the “awkward” stretch. Keep reading to find out how to make use of “useless” time and stretch!

Of course, we always recommend stretching warm muscles over cold ones but you can find temporary relief of tight muscles by stretching without warming up. Just be careful and don`t overextend your “awkward” stretch.

IMPORTANT STRETCHING TIP: Be sure to hold each stretch for at least 10 seconds but no longer than 30 seconds. The body has a built-in protective mechanism that activates when a muscle is being stretched before 10 seconds and then again after 30 seconds. So there’s a “sweet” spot in timing a stretch for your body to get the most benefit from it.

Why does Gidon call it an awkward stretch?

Well, these stretches are done in public and so chances are someone may notice you. However, awkward stretches make good use of time that would otherwise be wasted.

If there are a ton of people around, ease some of the awkwardness by choosing the most “subtle” stretches in each circumstance.

Here are some examples:

Waiting for the elevator: chest stretches.

The most subtle one is probably the Standing Chest Expansion: clasp your hands by the tailbone and entwine your fingers. Open your chest up and out by reaching your knuckles towards the floor – the farther you draw your clasped hands from your tailbone, the greater the intensity.

One-Armed Chest Stretch: Use the wall with one arm extended at a 90 degree angle and turn your body away to extend your chest muscles – the more your body is turned away from your arm and the wall, the greater the intensity.

Waiting in line at the grocery store: Calf & neck/shoulder stretches.

The most subtle calf stretch is the Step Calf Stretch but it requires you to to be closer to the cash: Place the ball of one foot against the the checkout counter and keep your heel on the floor. Slowly and gently, lean closer to the counter while keeping your knee straight and hold. The closer you are to the counter, the deeper the stretch.

Lateral Neck Stretch: Place your hands behind your body and clasp your hands together. Pull your shoulders down towards the floor and tilt your head first to the left, hold, then switch to the right, hold. Keep your head straight, meaning your chin should stay in relatively the same place in space, and bring your ear towards your shoulder. The closer you pull your opposite shoulder to the floor and the closer your ear is to the same shoulder, the greater the intensity.

Waiting in traffic & the doc`s office: perfect posture pose.

Did you know that by simply being more conscious of your posture, you become stronger and your posture improves? Plus, as an added bonus, no one will even notice you’re perfecting your posture, whether you’re sitting or standing!

Find out what perfect posture looks like and instructions on how to achieve it in Improve Your Posture With These Everyday Core Exercise Tips, including more “wasteful” moments within your day that you can make better use of by improving your posture. For fun, read Why Pay Attention to Posture? for a unique prediction on the evolution of man if we continue to neglect our posture.

These are just some stretches (subtle and not so subtle) and some “wasteful” situations where you can incorporate more stretching throughout your day. Look online for more great stretches that’ll work for you. Here’s a great resource with pictures for 15 neck and shoulder stretches.

Can you think of any ideal situations in your day where you can fit in an awkward stretch?

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