cat stretch

Ah it's a cat's life.

Basking in the sunshine, sleeping all day and going wild at night! Well I may not be able to follow cat rules but there's one thing they do that I do, and that's stretch. A lot.

As humans we seem to easily forget that we are of the animal kingdom and that it is not in our best interest to be stationary for most of the day. But if you perhaps work in an office or spend a good time driving then this is what you are doing. Even if you are very busy rushing around, are you carrying something on one side (baby?), or doing something one way (golf, working on a checkout?)

In effect you are either holding muscles in a generally unnatural position or over using a small group, and this eventually will cause you pain.

There is however a fantastic way to help counteract this problem, and that's stretching.

Look at the way you spend a lot of your time. Are you at a desk with your head tilted slightly down and your shoulders rounded forward as you type? If yes, then think the opposite when you stretch. Tipping your head to the side and slightly backwards will relieve the frontal neck muscles that have been in a shortened position.

Opening up the chest by placing your hands at the small of your back and squeezing elbows together will be a relief to the upper back muscles that have been over working all day.

As a basic rule, whatever position you hold, think the opposite as you stretch out. Or whatever action you do most, do the opposite.

Try to hold (NEVER 'BOUNCE') the stretch for 10-30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times. Go gently, remember this may feel uncomfortable if your muscles are very tight.

Over time they will thank you by not causing you pain. It's a quick, easy, cheap and effective way to help yourself.