A Brief History
Nowadays, it seems that those of you that sit in an office chair all day or who lift a lot of heavy weights are likely to get stiffness in their body. Most people get stiffness because they do not stretch enough. The majority of people do not stretch at all, which over time causes your muscles to get more and more tense. Eventually this can lead to pain in other parts of your body due to the muscles pulling on other muscles. Here are some ways to improve your situation that you can do from home or at the office
Stretching is obviously the most simple solution, although many people do not do it at all or effectively. Depending on what is tense in your body, you may decide to do a full body stretch (which may take 10-20 minutes) or you could do specialized stretches targeting the area of your body that is stiff.
Bending over and touching your toes is a great way to stretch your hams and lower back. You can stand on your tippy toes and reach up to the ceiling as high as your can to get another good stretch. You can find many stretches online, we recommend doing a variety of stretches for each body part to ensure you’re getting a full, effective stretch.
Cracking stiff joints
It can be satisfying cracking your back or cracking your neck and feeling the pressure subside. It can make a nice noise when you crack it which adds to the satisfaction of the movement; however, when cracking any part of your body make sure you understand what you are doing. Cracking your neck can be dangerous if done incorrectly and could lead to stroke. Cracking your neck should not be done every day, it should only be done occasionally when you have a lot of built up pressure.
You could also go to a chiropractor and have them do it for you. Obviously it is the safer option, but if you do not have the budget or any sort of insurance then it is understandable that you would not be able to regularly visit a chiropractor.
Although yoga is technically stretching, it incorporates a lot of mindful practices that can improve your wellbeing and allow you to relax your muscles more. Part of stiffness in your muscles may be due to stress or anxiety. Yoga can help alleviate stress and anxiety, therefore making you feel looser from the stretches themselves, but also from your mind being relaxed. If you practice yoga every day you’ll get the full benefits and feel more flexible quickly.
These are the three main ways to improve your flexibility and help reduce stiffness in your body. Although it is important to stretch to reduce stiffness, you shouldn’t forget about working out the muscles as well. This can be done through power yoga, but also through lifting weights or doing calisthenic exercises like pushups, squats and situps. You want your muscles to be flexible, but also strong to prevent injury.
Question for students (and subscribers): Do you do daily stretches? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Connolly, Peter. A Student’s Guide to the History and Philosophy of Yoga, Revised Edition. Equinox Publishing, 2014.
Palmer, D. D. The Chiropractor: The Philosophy and History of Chiropractic Therapy, Care and Diagnostics by Its Founder (Hardcover). Lulu.com, 2018.
The featured image in this article, a depiction by https://www.myupchar.com/en of a person suffering from back pain, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.