We often focus on our sister blogs for Glucocil and BergaOne on how foods may help individual components of health. But did you know that stretching specific parts of your body can help what ails you? It’s true, stretching your back can help you manage stress.
While stress happens in the mind, its physical impact can be immense. It can cause you to tighten your muscles, especially in your back, neck and shoulders. And relieving the physical signs of stress can help you mentally.
“Muscular tension is a common manifestation of psychological tension, and by treating one aspect you can positively affect the other,” said Dr. Jordan Duncan, a chiropractor and expert in pain science. “We often carry stress in our shoulders, therefore stretches that help to relieve physical tension in this area can go a long way toward relieving stress.”
By stretching your upper back, you can physically treat your stress and help your mood and how your body feels. The tight muscles can also cause headaches, compounding the problem and feeding into a loop, so it’s best to deal with it as soon as possible. Stretching with your hands joined behind your back can loosen your shoulder and back and improve your posture, which can prevent stress.
“Regularly practicing this shoulder stretch, clasping the hands behind the back, will help to strengthen the back muscles associated with proper posture while opening up the chest. As these muscles become stronger, the more likely someone is to maintain good posture even when not performing this stretch,” said Dr. Liza Egbogah, a body and posture expert. “Having proper posture combats forward slouching, meaning that your lungs can become fully oxygenated, and when airflow is at its optimum, the release of stress hormones like cortisol is reduced, while the production of happy hormones, such as endorphins, increases.”
While stretching is free and easy, you should still speak to your doctor before making any significant changes to your routine. If you have any joint or muscle problems, you should check what moves are best for you before you begin moving in new ways that could exacerbate problems.
There are many stretches you can try to loosen your shoulders and back. Trying them all can let you find a combination that helps you lower your stress levels and feel great. Feeling looser and less tense can reduce your stress levels. In turn, feeling less stressed can prevent you from becoming tight. Simply stretching your upper back daily can help your mood and overall health in ways you wouldn’t expect such a simple act to be able to do. It’s an easy, free way to lower your stress.