Your day may start at the third snooze before you actually panic, look at the time and finally get up and ready for the day. Where in the whirlwind of getting enough sleep and dealing with school, work and relationships do you have time to take care of yourself?
Really what you should be asking is how do I not have time to take care of myself. This is a question that is not usually asked until you get sick, throw your back out or until the chronic pain is too much to bear. Be smart and be preemptive in your strategy.
First thing in the morning when you get up, be sure to stretch. Nothing to fancy, just reach to the sky, elongate the spine and feel your whole body being pulled from you heals. Then keep a slight bend to your knees and let the head hang heavy as you touch your toes. Come back up and with your hands over your head and lean to one side for a couple good breaths, then the other side to keep balance in your body and in your day.
When you have finished, pending on how many breaths you took in each pose, the whole process should not take more than a few minutes. You can do a couple of the same stretches in the shower with the warm water helping to loosen the muscles. A favorite stretch in the shower is clasping the hands above the head against the wall, drop the head between your arms and feel the lengthening in the shoulders, back and neck. Be sure to stretch responsibly in the slippery, wet shower.
During the day, take a few moments every hour or every break to stretch. Try doing a few squats, chair pushups, some controlled twists or even knee raises. Nothing too drastic – it’s not like you’re trying to sweat – just get the muscles active.
Now some exercises for you serious types. For the legs, keep one hand on a desk or chair, then extend one leg out in front of you (either straight or bent), bend the other leg until the thigh is parallel to the floor, press back up to standing position. Repeat 8 to 12 reps each leg. Keep the weight-bearing knee behind the toes always; use the assistance to help you keep form. Working the calves is easy. Find a stairwell, with your heels extended off the step, drop the heel as low as it will go getting a good stretch and press with your toes, flex once you have reached the maximum height. You can also do lunges or two legged squats for additional leg exercises that go where you go.
Working the upper body can vary for each individual. Push-ups work a variety of muscles and using a desk or chair can assist you in whatever level you might be. Chair dips are another great exercise at the office. Chair dips can be done by sliding your behind off the chair while keeping your hands on both sides of you. Keep the knees bent and lower, keeping the back close to the chair. When office equipment is not enough, keep a workout band with you for curls, lat pulls, shoulders and back moves.
Mix or match what exercises work best for you. Most importantly, it is not the quantity but the quality that counts. Use your imagination and discover new exercises you can take with you. Be healthy today and enjoy tomorrow.