Incorporating stretches into your day can improve your flexibility, improves posture, and probably my favorite benefit is releases tension in your muscles… i.e. relaxation. I recently started incorporating more stretches into my fitness schedule and my body is already thanking me. High stress and tension can increase your risk for breast cancer (and inhibit you from getting well quicker), try some of these stretches to help with tension and have you more relaxed than before!

stretches-ease-tension

1. Chest and Shoulder Stretch

Sitting at a desk all day, this stretch gives me that boost of energy to get through my next big project and helps me stretch and ease the tension in my upper back and shoulders! Sit or stand and clasp your hands together behind your back, keeping your arms straight. Life your hands towards the ceiling, going only until your comfortable. You should feel a stretch in your shoulders and chest.

stretches-ease-tension

2. Bear Hug

This is my absolute favorite stretch right when I wake up and right before I go to bed. Nothing like a little hug to show self love and ease that tension you have in your shoulders. Stand tall and inhale as you open your arms and wrap them around yourself. Breathe deeply and hold for about 30 seconds. Repeat this stretch with your other arm on top next.

stretches-ease-tension

3. Half Rainbow

Whether I just came back from a long walk or did a quick HIIT workout, this is my go-to cool down stretch to keep my muscles nice and loose the rest of the day and helps me relieve the tensions that can build up in your sides and hips. Sit in a cross-legged position wiht your back straight and your shoulder relaxed. Take your left arm and raise it over your head while keeping your right rested next to your thigh, slightly bend until comfortable. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch arms.

4. Standing Forward Fold

Everyone thinks I’m a bit off my rocker, but I do this stretch all the time and pretty much anywhere! I love how it releases all the tension in my neck and shoulder, back, and hamstrings. Why not do it all the time?! Stand with your feet together and from your hips, fold your torso over and reach your arms down. Hang and hold this for about 15 seconds gently swaying side to side.

5. Hip and Glute Stretch

If you are sitting a majority of the day, or just did a killer leg workout this is a MUST. All the tension sitting in your hips (which makes it hard for me to get comfortable generally) will be gone after a few rounds of this stretch. Lie on your back with your legs extended straight. Bend your left knee, and place your foot flat on the floor. Cross your right ankle at your left knee and grab the back of your left thigh and hug your legs towards your chest.