SAFE ZONE TO EXERCISE / JULY 11, 2020
The Taguig city government set up “safe zones” for its residents to exercise such as jogging, aerobics, and cycling along Bayani Road at the Heritage Memorial Park, July 11, 2020. They also put signs across the safe zone sites to remind the public of health protocols amid the ongoing threat of the coronavirus disease pandemic. TAGS: YOGA, EXERCISE
INQUIRER PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA
Simple stretches to fix weakened muscles, back pain from sitting
For some, it was not a conscious decision to fall into a routine while staying at home. There was a much-needed structure to distinguish the boundaries of working and resting at home, since both were now done in one area.
However, we did not pay enough attention to what would happen when the world suddenly became inactive. After a few weeks, we started noticing the toll it was taking on our bodies.
With the sudden removal of all our usual physical activities, our bodies started to adapt. Some people noticed more bloating than usual, shortness of breath while doing minimal cardio and body pains from doing physical activities. With a sudden shift from active to sedentary lifestyles, our bodies went into shock.
We did not even realize that something as inconspicuous as prolonged sitting may be detrimental to our health. It can be, even without the new coronavirus disease. It increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, dementia, deep vein thrombosis and many more preventable diseases. This, partnered with minimal physical activities, can and will hurt your body in the long run.
The neck, spine and buttocks suffer the most. By sitting for hours, you are not using your lower body muscles (the most powerful) to support you. This can lead to muscle atrophy (which is weakening of these muscles).
In addition to your leg and gluteus muscles, your hips and back will suffer, as sitting causes your hip flexors to shorten, which can lead to back pain. Any additional body weight from lack of exercise can also worsen it.
Workout for beginners
Fortunately, there are workouts that are not intimidating, even to beginners. Something as simple as stretching has always been underestimated in the world of fitness. Beginners tend to skip stretching and complain that their bodies ache the next day, after they do their workouts.
Stretching can help in targeting prone muscle areas and prevent injury from more difficult workouts. It does not require any equipment and needs minimal space.
To start a stretch routine, set your alarm every hour and do at least two of the stretches below. Mix and match according to your body’s needs.
• Back stretch: Put your hands up and intertwine your fingers with your palms facing the ceiling. Push your buttocks out, lengthen your back, push your chest out, and take a deep breath as you push your palms further upward. Let your head fall comfortably in between your stretched arms. Only push your arms to a height you are comfortable with. Do this for eight-second intervals, with breaks in between.
• Neck stretch: Stand up and allow your arms to fall to your sides. Tilt your head to the left. Lift your left hand and place it on your right cheek. Gently pull it in the direction where your head is tilting for a little bit more stretch. Do this for eight seconds and take a couple of seconds before repeating for the right, front and back of your neck.
• Shoulder stretch: Stand up and put your arms behind you, touching your lower back. Extend your palms and intertwine your fingers with your palm facing outward. Start stretching by straightening your arms. If there is resistance from your arms or you feel them shaking, do not force it. Only stretch as far as your arms can go. You may put your head toward the ground slowly for a deeper stretch. Slowly come back up and release your hands to your side as you stand upright. Do this for eight-second intervals with breaks in between.
• Knee hugs: Stand straight with your feet apart. Take your left knee and lift it to your chest while balancing on your right foot. Put your arms around the knee and hug it close to your chest for eight seconds. Do the same for the right knee. Make sure you don’t wobble and you stay firm with your standing foot. Do this for eight seconds per knee.
Incorporating simple stretching is not only crucial for your fitness, but also the easiest way for you to get some exercise without the pressure of changing your routine completely. These are easy steps you can do off the top of your head or which you may have been doing already, but have not fully utilized yet.
Exercising should not be complicated. It should be still be done with the guidance of trainers and coaches for maximum results, but in these times, you may just opt to have the final stretch by yourself.