Going to bed? Keep your hands off your treadmill and do these ten-minute stretches instead. These could do wonders for your sleep and won't make you feel excessively worn-out.
Working out before bedtime may seem like an unlikely concept especially for the non-athletics, but this actually helps the body to wind down and cool off, giving one the same feeling as if having a bath, the National Sleep Foundation states. Sleep patterns, which is largely influenced by genetics, work the same when it comes to pre-sleep "cooling down" routines. Whether one is an early riser or a night owl, prepping the body before bed is helpful in getting one's must-have snooze, and no, it doesn't have to be strenuous.
Practical wisdom kept arguing that one should not work out vigorously before bedtime. For one, it raises your core body temperature (which is opposite of what you want when going to sleep), increases your heart rate, stimulates your adrenaline, keeping your brain active. This may be the reason why you are as wide-awake as an owl after a perspiring cardio workout by 10 PM.
But "winding down" workouts don't have to be dynamic; in fact, these could be slow, soothing stretches you can do, even without unrolling your yoga mat! One alternative: doing this on your bed! Do these stretches before you sleep and conveniently doze off as soon as you hit the sack.
- Lie on your back with your legs straight
- Bend your right knee on your chest, clasp it in both hands
- Pull down to stretch while releasing the tension in your shoulders
- Hold your leg for 30 seconds, then repeat with the other leg
- Lie flat on your belly, then extend your arms in front
- Hang your feet over the end of the bed
- Keep your legs and thighs grounded, but gently pull your torso off the bed while keeping your elbows slightly bent
- Stretch your hands by pulling up with your shoulders; lengthen your neck and relax your shoulder blades
- Stay for 30 seconds, then lower your upper body back to the bed
- Lie on your back in the middle of your bed
- Bend your knees onto the chest
- Cross them over to the left side of the body, letting your knees hang over the edge
- Stretch your arms in a T-position
- Turn your head to the right
- Here, you can stay for 30 seconds, or more, and feel your spine stretch and twist. Using your abdomen, lift your knees to the centre, then repeat on the other side. Do this for five minutes.
Half Body Push-Up
- Lay flat on your belly, both legs stretched out, and slowly pull your upper body erect
- Keep your hips on the floor as you use your arms and shoulders to hold the position for 30 seconds
- Lie back on the bed and repeat
- Sit on the bed with your feet together and both knees protruded sideways
- Grab your toes and let your shoulders slowly push your body down to the floor
- Slowly get back to sitting position and repeat the process
- Lie on your back with both legs straight
- Lift your head and shoulders off the bed, steady your torso with your elbows and hands spread on the bed
- Pull your head back, relax, and hold this position in a 30-second count
- Lie back on the bed, repeat
- Lay on your back with your legs and thighs straight up against the wall
- Hold this position for as long as you can; this helps regulate blood flow to your lower back as you relax before bed
All of these stretches can be done in one or two alternates within 5-10 minutes. You get to burn calories, plus a soothing prep for your body before taking your much-needed nap.