Holiday Stretching "Tune Up"

Posted On Dec 23, 2013 By Vito La Fata

stretching to relieve stress during the holidays

The holidays can be stressful. Carrying bags, running around from store to store, cooking, wrapping, finding the right gift? – Worries dance through your head.

You scramble around to parties, work and family, and the fact that you manage to get some time to throw hurried workouts in the middle of it all is better than not working out at all. But, you keep skipping your stretching; this means trouble is brewing.

All this holiday stress and rushed exercise can leave you tight and wound up. You need to get your body to relax, recover and repair or you might find yourself in major meltdown when your schedule gets back to normal.

Your workout routine often gets lost in the holiday shuffle, so you're not only eating more, you're burning less. Not to mention the usual stress that can trigger the body to release excessive amounts of cortisol, the "cravings" hormone that makes you reach for comfort foods high in fat and sugar.

But who has tons of time for a lengthy stretch session amidst all the holiday chaos?

You do.

WHAT YOU NEED: This holiday, take the time to stretch in the morning before your day begins, or right after a workout, or even after the kids have gone to bed with visions of sugarplums dancing through their heads.

The top five muscles to stretch during this holiday season include your chest, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors and shoulders.

HOW TO DO IT: It's easy today to have a trainer teach you a few moves, or even grab an app or quick video on YouTube to teach you how to stretch all these tight muscles.

So many people walk around with a hunched back, shoulders rolled forward and low back tightness. It's like a bad gift from an evil Santa leaving you with more than dirty coal in your stocking – and it's a gift you can't return.