I’ve Been Stretching 10 Minutes a Day for 30 Days, and Here’s What’s Changed
When I turned 30, I started experiencing pain in my back from time to time. No medicine that I took would help me, so I had to look for other solutions to this problem. That’s when I decided to conduct an experiment and incorporate stretching into my daily routine. I’ve been stretching my muscles for 10 minutes a day for a month and now I can see some unexpected changes in my body.
My stretching routine:
- Head-to-knee bend: Sit down to the floor with your right leg extended to the side, your left knee bent, and the sole of your left foot near your inner right thigh. Bend to your right side and grab your right foot with both hands. Hold for 60 seconds, then switch sides.
- Frog pose: Sit down to the floor with your feet below your buttocks and your knees wide apart. Keeping your feet on the ground, raise your buttocks and walk your hands forward along the floor as far as possible. Allow your legs to separate until you feel a stretch in your thighs. Hold the pose for 2 minutes.
- Cobra pose: Lie down on your stomach. Stretch your legs back and place your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Lift your upper body off the floor by straightening your elbows. Hold the pose for 2 minutes.
- Downward-facing dog: Place your hands and feet on the floor shoulder-width apart. Keeping your arms and legs straight, hold the position for 2 minutes.
- Seated spinal twist: Sit down to the floor and extend both legs in front of you. Bend your left knee and place your right elbow on it. Put your left hand on the floor behind you and look over your left shoulder. Hold for 60 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.
The results I’ve got:
1. I started sleeping better.
Back pain wasn’t my only problem before the experiment. I also had some pretty annoying sleeping issues. Insomnia, troubled sleep, feeling exhausted right after waking up — these words were well-known to me. But I didn’t really expect that stretching could help me get a good night’s rest.
It turns out that stretching before bed can relieve muscle tension and prevent sleep-disrupting cramps. When there’s nothing to disturb you at night, the quality of your sleep is improved and you feel more refreshed in the morning. So no more chamomile tea for me, stretching is the best remedy!
2. I finally feel my own body.
Of course, stretching is the perfect way to get a great body. But that’s not the point here. For me, stretching exercises have become a way to get my body back.
When you sit at your desk all day long, you literally don’t feel your legs on your way home from work. That’s how it was for me. But when I started stretching, I realized that my body needed my attention more than I actually thought. This better body awareness that developed as a result of the stretching allowed me to continue stretching in a smarter way, working on those muscles that were weaker and needed to be toned up.
3. I feel less sluggish.
I used to have trouble staying awake during my long, dragging day of work. Around midafternoon, I felt so sluggish and lethargic that all I could do is try to think of a place where I could take a nap safely, while my boss was busy with other things.
Stretching right at my desk for 10 minutes a day helped me significantly increase my energy level. I don’t feel lazy anymore. On the contrary, my productivity at work improved and I’ve even adopted the habit of taking a walk during my lunch break. Goodbye to my midday fatigue!
4. My back pain has gone away.
The constant pain in my back is what made me start this experiment. I had always heard that stretching helps heal and prevent lower back pain by strengthening the muscles and reducing the risk for muscle strain. Surprisingly, it was true.
As a repetitive sitter, who practically has no time to do a full workout every day, I had to choose something that could reduce the stiffness in my back and return mobility to my glute muscles without being too time-consuming. Turned out, stretching was a great choice.