Let’s face it – study can be very mentally draining, and it can also leave your body feeling stiff, sore and tired. Sometimes you just need something quick and easy to give yourself a bit of an energy boost – and one way to do this is through some simple stretches that you can weave into your busy schedule.
If you’ve ever done group fitness classes, you will have noticed that the instructor goes through some stretching exercises at the start and end of the session. This is because these stretches can help prevent injury, and improve circulation and flexibility.
Stretching can also just feel pretty good! If you have a cat you will have no doubt seen how it seems to really enjoy a good stretch after its many naps. And you’ve probably notice how it feels when you have a good stretch after a sleep yourself.
If you are sitting down a lot during the day, try some of these easy stretches to re-energise:
- Stretch your legs out in front of you, flex your toes a few times, then release and repeat.
- Relieve neck and shoulder tension by shrugging your shoulders and holding for a few seconds before dropping them.
- Stretch your arms above your head and interlock the fingers, taking a deep breath as you do so.
There are a number of other types of exercises that involve stretching as well:
Yoga involves a combination of breath control, stretching, and meditation. Try these exercises:
- Spine flex – this involves sitting on the floor with legs crossed and holding your ankles with your hands. As you exhale drop your chin to your chest and round your back, then inhale as you slowly as you lift your chin and chest back up. Repeat.
- Floor stretch – sit on the floor with legs stretched out to in a ‘V’ in front of you. With each hand grab your toes – if this is too hard just reach as far as you can. As you inhale lift your spine straight, and on the exhale drop your head towards your knees. Repeat for three minutes.
Qi Gong is a type of ‘moving meditation’, with ‘Qi’ referring to the flow of life energy, and ‘Gong’ being practice or mastery. Qi Gong exercises involve gentle slow stretches using a fluid movement. Try this one:
- Cherry-picking Qi Gong – inhale while stretching upward, raising one arm as if to pick cherries from high on a tree. Exhale while dropping your imaginary cherries into a pretend bucket on the floor at your feet. Repeat with the other arm. Do this several times.
A Qi Gong App for iPhone is available here.
Pilates is an exercise routine designed to improve core strength, fitness, flexibility and well-being. It generally involves using apparatus, and so is often done with an instructor. You can find Pilates Apps from iTunes here.
Whatever you do, it’s important to take a break and move around every half-hour or so. These natural ways to boost energy, combined with a healthy diet and plenty of sleep, should provide just what you need to breeze through your studies a little more easily.
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