The afternoon slump is all too common in today’s day and age. You head to the coffee station in your office or convenience store for an energy drink. Perhaps you have a stash of caffeinated teas in your desk for this exact moment. Did you know that you can pull yourself out of a slump without caffeine, though? Although it may sound relaxing, engaging in a dynamic stretch routine helps bring you back to life and away from sleepiness.
Gentle movements and dynamic stretching can slowly warm up the body by increasing circulation to your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. That process increases oxygen levels, according to exercise physiologists, and receiving more oxygen and nutrients from better blood flow can naturally lift you up. Not to mention, dynamic stretching is a great way to improve flexibility, correct posture, and delay onset muscle soreness. The following dynamic stretch routine only takes up five minutes of your time and is better than flooding your body with caffeine. Experiment to see if it works for you.
Begin by standing tall with your arms resting by your sides. Widen your stance until your feet are about three feet apart. Lift your right heel up as you rotate towards your left side and reach your right arm up and across your body, making a straight line from your right foot to fingertips. Return to the starting position, take a breath, and then repeat on the other side. Continue alternating sides for a total of 10 reps per side. Just make sure that you are doing controlled, slow movements to feel the stretch.
Standing Cat Cow
Stand up straight in front of a chair, table, countertop, or another supportive item or surface. Place your hands on the supportive surface and walk your feet backward until your upper body and arms are parallel to the floor. On an exhale, round your back to enter the cat position and really open up your mid back. On an inhale, slowly arch the spine, soften your knees, and press your hands lightly into the surface to lengthen through the crown of your head. This is the cow portion of the stretch. Continue to alternate back and forth slowly for a total of eight reps.
Lunge And Twist
Stand up straight with your feet hip-distance apart and arms by your sides. Step your right leg back to enter a reverse lunge, bending your left leg to stack your knee directly over your ankle. Aim to have your left thigh parallel to the ground, all the while engaging your core and right leg to ground yourself through the ball of your right foot. Raise your arms in front of you and slowly twist toward your left side. As you exhale, twist back to center and engage your core to remain with your arms out in front of you for a second. Repeat until you complete 10 reps and then switch sides.
Standing Rotation And Squat
Begin in a wide stance and lower yourself into a deep squat, aligning your knees with your heels and kneecaps between your second and third toes. Keep your back straight and engage your core as you bring your hands together down in front of you. Rotate to the left side to reach your right arm up and away from you. Return to the center deep squat and sit there for a breath before standing tall and rotating to the right side. Repeat on the other side and continue to alternate sides until you complete 10 reps per side.
Side Lunge Pulse
Begin by standing straight up with your feet shoulder-width apart and parallel to each other. Step your right foot to the right to enter a side lunge, sinking your butt back while keeping your back straight. Make sure to keep your hips back and don’t let your right knee extend over your right toes. Do 10 small, slow pulses in this position, breathing through each one. Return to the starting position and repeat on the left side. Complete one more round per side.