TIME Exercise/Fitness

6 Ways to Get More Out of a Push-Up

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Pay attention to your breathing

The push-up is one of the most overlooked exercises in the metaphorical exercise book. Sure, it looks pretty easy and most of us know the basics: heels together, wrists underneath shoulders, bend and press your elbows, and voila, a move that works your entire body pretty much.

But there are certain tweaks you can make to take your push-up technique to the next level. Here are 6 key ways to perfect this exerciseand get the most out of it. All you have to do is follow these tips.

Press Your Hands Into The Floor

When performing a push-up, you want to press the palms of your hands firmly into the floor as if to push away from your wrists. Simultaneously, rotate the arms externally so that the elbows and biceps face forward. This pressure provides a natural tension in your arms, shoulders, and upper back, which will help you maintain stability in the upper body throughout the exercise, which helps keep you working hard in proper form.

Squeeze your lats

Another way to stabilize the upper body is to engage your lats. These muscles are found underneath your armpits and run along the sides of your body. By pressing your palms firmly into the floor you can start to activate them. Then, in addition, think of squeezing your armpits as tightly as possible, like you are holding something in between them. This will keep your upper body completely stable.

Draw your shoulder blades down and back

Keeping your shoulders shrugged up to your ears puts excess strain on the neck, and makes it harder to work the muscles you’re trying to tone: your arms, shoulders, and core. The body needs to move as one solid unit. Before you bend your elbows, check to make sure your shoulder blades are pulled down and back away from the ears, engaging your back muscles. To do this, act as if you are trying to squeeze your shoulder blades together.

Keep your neck in line with your spine

Dropping your head too far down or tilting it too far upward can put too much pressure on the spine and put you at greater risk for injurythe opposite of getting stronger. Find a neutral spine: Instead of tucking your chin completely or looking straight out in front, gaze about 6 inches or so in front of your fingertips and keep your eyes focused there as you push up.

Keep your core engaged

The core is made up of more than just your abdominal muscles. It’s the entire midsection of your body, basically everything but your extremities. Activating all of your core muscles, including your obliques, abs, and glutes, takes stress off the lower back in addition to stabilizing your hips so your body stays in one long line, even as you lower down. By actively squeezing your navel towards your spine, the push up becomes just as much of an abdominal workout as performing a plank.

Master the breath

If we were listing these in level of importance, this would probably be number one. As with any exercise, breath is always going to help improve your form. It is what drives the movement. Remember to always exhale on the effort of the movement. In this case, that means inhale when you go down and exhale when you press up. As you exhale, you are essentially trying to empty the lungs of as much air as possible to help contract the core and give more power to your movement.

Now that you know how to do the perfect push-up, you can try different variations with 7 Ways to Do a Push-Up

This article originally appeared on Health.com

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TIME Exercise/Fitness

6 Moves That Burn More Fat in Less Time

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Here's everything you need to know about plyometrics

 

There’s an in-vogue specialized training method that many people are using to get crazy results, and it is one of the fastest methods to get fit in a short amount of time: plyometrics.

Plyometrics are explosive movements that combine power, speed, and strength by working several body parts at once. Since they recruit more muscles than your average exercise—compare a bicep curl, which isolates only that one muscle, with a move that activates your arms, legs, and core simultaneously, like many of the ones below—you burn more calories not only during your workout, but up to eight hours after you’ve finished.

While plyometrics are well-known in the world of sports as a way to help athletes improve their game, they’re starting to take the rest of the fitness world by storm, and for good reason: In addition to toning and sculpting your legs, booty, arms, and abs, plyometrics help to build strength, increase balance and coordination, and improve cardiovascular health.

Before you jump off the couch and head to the gym, make sure you’re ready to handle plyometrics; since the difficulty level is somewhat advanced, being able to perform a proper basic squat and lunge first is important. Once you’ve mastered those moves, you’re ready to move on. Here are 6 plyometrics that will burn fat in no time:

Squat Jumps

Start by getting into the bottom of a squat position. Your legs should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and slightly turned out. Your chest should be out, shoulders back, and core engaged. From here, explode straight up in the air, allowing your feet to leave the ground. Make sure to land softly on your toes when you come down. Doing this will protect your knees and hips. Complete 10-15 squat jumps.

Lunge Hops

Start in a lunge position with your right foot in front and left foot behind you with your left knee about an inch from the floor. From here, explode straight up out of the lunge, switching your legs mid-air and landing softly on your toes. You will now have your left leg in front and right leg behind you. Repeat this until you’ve completed 10 total lunge hops.

Skaters

Start at the bottom of a squat position. Jump to the left, landing on your left leg, while bringing your right leg behind your left ankle. From here, jump to the right side with your right leg, bringing your left leg behind your right ankle. This completes one rep. Complete a total of 30 skaters.

Toe Taps

Find a stable medicine ball, step, or bench. This will be your base for the toe touches. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms by your sides. Bring your right toe to the edge of your base. From here jump and switch your feet so that your left toe is at the edge of the base and your right foot is now back on the floor. Repeat this for a total of 30 toe taps.

Medicine Ball Squat Thrusts

Grab a medicine ball and stand with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold the ball at belly-button height and slowly squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor or lower. (Do not let your knees extend past the tip of your toes.) From here, explode upwards and toss the medicine ball straight in the air. Keep your eye on it so you can catch it and drop right back into the squat position. Do 12-15 medicine ball squat thrusts.

Medicine Ball Burpees

Grab a medicine ball and stand with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Squat down to the floor and place the medicine ball between your feet while keeping your hands on the ball. From here, jump back into a pushup position, making sure your hands are placed securely on the ball. Jump your feet forward until you are at the bottom of a squat again, then stand up straight. Try to do 10-12 medicine ball burpees.

Liked these moves? Check out A 5-Move Workout To Get Your Butt In Shape

This article originally appeared on Health.com

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TIME psychology

How to Manage Stress

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Shane Parrish writes Farnam Street

Exercise can become your best medicine

For any of you who have experienced a ‘runner’s high’ or endorphin rush while exercising you know how powerful the feeling can be. But there are many more chemicals at play than just endorphins and they can do much more than just make you temporarily feel good. Regular exercise can help you combat high levels of stress and anxiety.

In Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain the authors explain how exercise can become your best medicine.

Aside from elevating endorphins, exercise regulates all of the neurotransmitters targeted by antidepressants. For starters, exercise immediately elevates levels of norepinephrine, in certain areas of the brain. It wakes up the brain and gets it going and improves self-esteem, which is one component of depression.”

“Another factor from the body that comes into play here is the atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP). Produced by the muscles of the heart itself when it’s really pumping, ANP travels through the bloodstream and into the brain, where it helps to further moderate the stress response and reduce noise in the brain. It’s a potent part of a cascade of chemicals that relieve emotional stress and reduce anxiety. Along with pain-blunting endorphins and endocannabinoids, the increase in ANP helps explain why you feel relaxed and calm after a moderate aerobic workout. When you talk about burning off stress, these are the elements at work.

We all know that chronically high levels of stress is very unhealthy but did you know that it can actually destroy the connections between nerve cells in the brain?

If mild stress becomes chronic, the unrelenting cascade of cortisol triggers genetic actions that begin to sever synaptic connections and cause dendrils to atrophy and cells to die; eventually, the hippocampus can end up physically shriveled, like a raisin.

But this process can also be reversed.

Studies show that if researchers exercise rats that have been chronically stressed, that activity makes the hippocampus grow back to it’s pre-shriveled state

It’s important to note that while a lot of stress is bad, a little stress can be very good. Physical fitness is one discipline which has always advocated introducing controlled stress to your system. That is, after all, how we break down and build up our muscles. The neurons in our brains benefit from a bit of stress in the same way our muscles do.

What’s gotten lost amid all the advice about how to reduce the stress of modern life is that challenges are what allow us to strive and grow and learn. The parallel on the cellular level is that stress sparks brain growth. Assuming that the stress is not too severe and that the neurons are given time to recover, the connections become stronger and our mental machinery works better.

To get the most mental benefit from your exercise program ideally you need to spend some time pushing yourself and getting a bit outside of your comfort zone.

Psychologically, this is where you ‘confront the self,’ in the words of my colleague Robert Pyles… By going beyond where you thought you could, straining and stressing and lingering in that pain for even just a minute or two, you sometimes transcend into a rarefied state of mind, in which you feel like you can conquer any challenge. If you’ve ever experienced the phenomenon of runner’s high, it probably came in response to a near maximum effort on your part. The euphoric feeling is likely due to the mixture of extremely high levels of endorphins, ANP, endocannabinoids and neurotransmitters pumping through your system at this intensity. It’s the brain’s way of blocking everything else out so you can push through the pain and make the kill.

You also need to build a routine. The stability of a routine can have dramatic effects on your mood and motivation.

Exercise immediately increases levels of dopamine and if you stay on some sort of schedule, the brain cells in your motivation center will sprout new dopamine receptors, giving you new found initiative.

Lastly, exercising at a moderate intensity serves another important function; it helps take out the trash.

Inside your brain cells, the higher activity level triggers the release of metabolic cleanup crews, producing proteins and enzymes that dispose of free radicals, broken bits of DNA, and inflammation factors that can cause the cells to rupture if left unchecked.

Okay, maybe I won’t skip yoga tonight.

This piece originally appeared on Farnam Street.

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TIME Cancer

You Asked: Can Deodorant Give You Cancer?

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Illustration by Peter Oumanski for TIME

There may be reasons to worry—though hard proof remains elusive.

If you’ve seen the 1989 film Batman—the one with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson—you’ll recall that the Joker terrorizes Gotham City by slipping toxic chemicals into cosmetics: while no single item is lethal, combining deodorant with shampoo and lipstick could kill you.

It’s hard not to think of that movie while chatting with toxicologists who study the potential risk of deodorant and antiperspirant ingredients, especially parabens and aluminum. However, according to the American Cancer Society’s website, there is no “clear” or “direct” link between parabens or aluminum and cancer. The National Cancer Institute site says “more research is needed.”

The FDA, for its part, says “FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens. However, the agency will continue to evaluate new data in this area. If FDA determines that a health hazard exists, the agency will advise the industry and the public.

But “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” says Dr. Philip Harvey, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Toxicology.

Dr. Philippa Darbre, an oncologist at the University of Reading in the U.K., has published more than 30 research papers on those substances found in underarm deodorant and other personal care products. She says that many of these ingredients are concerning on their own. But the health risks of each may be greater—and more difficult to identify—when you consider the complex chemical cocktails that form when they combine.

For example, her research has detected parabens—a category of chemical that acts as a preservative in some underarm and personal care products—in women’s breast tissue, though how those parabens got there and what happens when they are in breast tissue is unknown.

In Darbre’s experiments, combining different parabens with human cells creates activity that may contribute to the development of cancer. But attempts to find these links in humans—as opposed to in petri dishes—have produced inconsistent results. One 2002 study found no correlation between underarm product use and breast cancer; a 2003 study did find ties. Darbre says both studies have flaws and leave many important questions unanswered.

Like Darbre, Harvey has looked into the ways cosmetics interact with your body. He says wiping these chemicals under your arms and on the sides of your chest or breasts “could provide a route of almost direct exposure to underlying tissue containing estrogen receptors.”

Both parabens and aluminum are “estrogenic” chemicals—meaning they interact with your body’s hormones or cells in ways similar to estrogen. That’s concerning, because excess estrogen plays a role in promoting the growth of cancer cells, according to the National Cancer Institute. While many experts think cosmetic chemicals like parabens have only “weak” estrogenic activity, Harvey doesn’t agree. He says, “It is often quoted that parabens are thousands of times less potent than estrogen in terms of their estrogenicity. This can be misleading and ignores actual exposures.”

Harvey says his own calculations suggest these cosmetic chemicals may “significantly add to estrogenic burdens.” Because of that, he says he questions the wisdom of including any chemical with known hormonal activity in your personal care regimen.

But until he and other researchers are able to explain—and demonstrate—the ways these chemicals cause health problems, no regulatory changes are likely.

That’s because unless a chemical is proven harmful, regulators allow you to eat it, smoke it, brush with it or slather it on your body. Finding that proof of harm is a difficult, costly and time-consuming proposition. Darbre says researchers can’t simply mix some human cells and some chemicals in a test tube and watch for cancer to pop up.

So where does that leave deodorant and antiperspirant users? Largely in in the dark, Darbre says. “People want a simple fix,” she says. “Unfortunately it is not simple.”

Until more is known, consumers are in a bind. “Avoiding certain publicized chemicals is only the tip of the iceberg,” she says. Darbre says she switched to a twice-daily regimen of underarm cleaning with soap and water. (“No one has yet complained!” she jokes.) Frequent pit scrubbing may seem unnecessarily laborious—or just plain weird. But if you’re concerned about the chemicals you rub on your body, regular bathing might seem like an attractive alternative.

TIME Exercise/Fitness

You Asked: Is It Better to Sleep In Or Work Out?

Peter Oumanski for TIME

Sleep and exercise are both vital. But if you can’t seem to fit in both, you can sometimes substitute a little of one for a little of the other.

When it comes to your health, there are few absolutes. But that’s not the case with sleep and exercise. You need both, period.

“I couldn’t choose between the two,” says Edward Laskowski, MD, a resident and professor of physical medicine at Mayo Clinic. “Sleep and exercise are like food and water.”

Not only are both necessary, but it’s difficult to get healthy doses of one without the other. “When you look at the research, regular physical activity is important for high-quality sleep, and high-quality sleep is important for physical performance,” says Cheri Mah, a sleep medicine researcher at Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco.

But when pressed to choose one that’s more important, Mah grudgingly decides on sleep. “Sleep is foundational,” she says. While specific needs vary from person to person, she says most of the scientific literature suggests adults need a minimum of seven hours of good sleep every night. “Lots of individuals think they can operate on less, but when you test them, you find they’re not performing at their best,” Mah says. “They get used to feeling tired, and they think that’s the norm.”

Sleep is the base on which a healthy mind and body stand, she explains. From your immune function to your mood, energy, appetite and dozens of other health variables, if that base is wobbly, your health will suffer.

But let’s assume you’re getting your seven-plus hours every night. Can you sacrifice some zzzs a few times a week in order to fit in regular exercise? Yes, but with caveats, says Dr. Phyllis Zee, director of the Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine at Northwestern University.

Regularity is very important for sound, restorative sleep. Mess around too much with your sleep and wake schedule, and all of your body’s circadian rhythms can be thrown out of whack. Not only will you feel sleepy at odd hours, but you may also struggle to fall asleep at night, and your appetite and energy will fluctuate in unhealthy ways, Zee says.

Say you typically go to bed around 11:00 p.m. and rise at seven. Zee says the midpoint of your night would land near 3 a.m. As long as you’re maintaining your seven-to-eight-hour average and that midpoint lands between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., Zee says you’re fine skipping a half hour of sleep a few days a week in favor of a morning run or gym visit.

Not fine: Rising two hours early to attend a morning yoga class or to fit in a lengthy bike ride.

“Even on weekends, you want to keep that regularity of when you go to bed and when you get up,” Zee stresses. Your body doesn’t understand what a weekend is, so it doesn’t react well if you stick to one schedule during the workweek and adopt a radically different schedule on Saturdays and Sundays. The same goes for your workout days.

But if you’re falling short of your seven hours a night, Zee, Mah and Laskowski all say the same thing: It’s time to reorganize your schedule in a way that makes room for both adequate sleep and regular exercise.

There may be some exceptions for people with insomnia or those who can’t seem to sleep at night. For them, rising at the same time each day and incorporating regular exercise might help alleviate sleep woes, even if it means sacrificing a little sack time in the short term.

But for the rest of us, making time for sleep and exercise can come down to cutting out activities that aren’t as important.

“Almost everyone could forgo 30 minutes a day of internet or TV time,” Mah says. Both the CDC and American Heart Association recommend a minimum of 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week. Along with your seven-plus hours of sleep, those are you bare-minimum goals when it comes to healthy rest and physical activity.

“There are so many unique benefits that each have, it’s hard to pull them apart,” Laskowski says. “The real danger is when you only make adequate time for one of them.”

TIME Exercise/Fitness

How to Trick Yourself into a Harder Workout

Follow the 60-second rule

It’s no secret that fitness is a mental game. Now there’s research that suggests even overweight, sedentary adults can trick themselves into working harder in the gym.

A study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that if you work out in short intervals as opposed to long stretches, it will feel easier, even if you’re doing the same amount of work overall.

This type of high intensity interval training, commonly referred to as HIIT, has been on the rise in the fitness world. Researchers have proven the benefits of short, intense bursts of exercise: they can burn more fat, increase levels of fitness, improve blood pressure and increase muscle activity.

There seems to be an interval-training sweet spot, the new study suggests. In it, researchers observed unfit and overweight adults as they did two types of exercise: heavy continuous exercise without a break, and three different intervals of exercise during which they rested for 30 seconds on and off, then 60 seconds on and off and 120 seconds on and off. The exercisers reported thinking that the 120-second trial would be the hardest, and they indeed perceived that shorter bursts were easier, in spite of the fact that they were all the same intensity. Short intervals of one minute or less may be a way to trick yourself into working harder, simply because it may seem easier, the researchers conclude.

Read next: Short Bursts of Exercise Are Better Than Exercising Nonstop

TIME Exercise/Fitness

6 Summer Activities That Will Work Out Your Abs

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Beach volleyball will tone your abs fast

Crunches, planks and bicycles are all effective at working your core. But so do some way-more-fun summer activities (think hula-hooping and stand-up paddle boarding) that just so happen to tone your abs in a similar way. Both routes to a six-pack can be effective, but personally, I’d rather get some serious enjoyment out of the process too, especially when it’s nice out.

Check out these sports that secretly strengthen your core—chances are, you won’t even realize you’re getting an ab workout as you’re doing them (though the burn the next day will probably clue you in).

Hula-hooping

You’ve got to really move your middle to keep the hoop spinning, so it makes total sense that this seemingly silly activity might seriously target your tummy. And a new, small study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research proves just that. Thirteen women were asked to use a weighted hula hoop for five days a week for six weeks, for two minutes on the first day and then for longer and longer stints until they were hooping for 15 minutes a day starting in week three. The result: The women lost 3.4 centimeters from their midsections and 1.4 centimeters from their hips, on average.

Stand-up paddleboarding

All you have to do is get on a board and you will understand how your core is involved—it’s all about balance, and to stay upright your core is engaged the entire time,” says Chris Freytag, a fitness instructor in Minneapolis and founder of gethealthyu.com. If you’re a newbie, Freytag suggests starting on your knees, which lowers your center of gravity and still works your middle, and then moving up to standing when you feel comfortable for maximum perks.

Kayaking

Just because you’re sitting doesn’t mean you’re not working your stomach. “The majority of your body’s strength while paddling comes from the core, so while it feels like an upper-body exercise, it begins in your abdominals and lower back,” says Ramona Braganza, celebrity fitness trainer and creator of the 321 Training Method. Plus, your body rotation when paddling targets your obliques, too.

Beach volleyball

This classic summer sport is all about moving side-to-side and up-and-down to get the ball. All that quick lateral movement works your middle like crazy. On top of that, “the unstable surface of the sand gets your stabilizing muscles activated,” Braganza notes. Try playing with only a few people, rather than seven or eight folks on each side, which will force you to move more—and burn more.

Treading water

“Treading water, or really doing any water sport in general such as swimming or snorkeling without fins, can improve your core and provides a lot of cardiovascular benefits,” says Braganza. And that’s important, she says, because it’ll burn off any fat hiding sculpted muscles underneath.

Rollerblading

To stay balanced, you have to rely on a strong midsection to keep you upright. You’re also burning lots of calories as you roll, which is great for fat-melting purposes, Braganza says.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

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TIME Exercise/Fitness

Ballet Isn’t Good Exercise for Kids — but Hip-Hop Is, Study Says

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Only 30% of ballet class is spent in substantial exercise

Signing up your kid for ballet class might seem like a great way to get them some exercise. But when ranked against other forms of dance in terms of how much exercise it provides, ballet class didn’t even come close to first position.

“People are very aware of the obesity epidemic but not as concerned as they should be about the low levels of activity in our country,” says study author James Sallis, distinguished professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego, and author of the new study published in the journal Pediatrics. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that American children and adolescents get an hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day, but many fall short — especially girls, who are consistently found to be less active than boys, he says.

But most kinds of dance aren’t helping close that gender gap, Sallis and his team found. Researchers studied the activity levels of 264 girls in two age ranges: children ages 5 to 10 and adolescents ages 11 to 18. The dancers were outfitted with accelerometers to measure the intensity of their movements. In total, the researchers measured levels in 66 dance classes of a wide range of styles: ballet, jazz, hip-hop, flamenco, salsa, tap and partnered dance like swing and ballroom.

Only 8% of children and 6% of adolescents achieved the 30-minute recommendation for after-school moderate-to-vigorous exercise.

UC San Diego School of MedicineGraphs showing percentage of dance-class time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for children and adolescents. Percentages based on averages.

In children, the type of dance really mattered. Hip-hop was the most active kind of dance, with 57% of class time being devoted to moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Jazz took second place, followed by partnered class, tap, salsa and finally ballet, where 30% of class is spent in moderate-to-vigorous activity. (The rest of the class, as any once-tiny dancer will remember, was spent stretching, standing and listening to the teacher, the study found.) Flamenco class came in last, with 14% of class spent in substantial exercise.

But in adolescents, dance forms were much more similar in terms of the exercise they provided. Ballet actually rose in the ranks to first place, matching hip-hop in intensity. About 30% of both kinds of dance classes are moderate-to-vigorous for adolescents.
“Dance is a golden opportunity to contribute to the health of girls while they’re enjoying moving and being with their friends and building their physical competence and all the other things that dance does,” Sallis says. He and his team found that when kids are just learning a skill or a step, they’re not particularly active — until they put multiple steps together in a routine. “That’s when most of the activity takes place,” he says, and by teaching fewer steps and practicing more combinations, instructors can really make dance class count.

TIME Exercise/Fitness

5 Stretches for People Who Are Stuck at a Desk All Day

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Time to take a screen break

In our quest to make life easier and more automated through the influence of technology, we sometimes forget how the gadgets we love so much can negatively affect our lives as well, specifically when it comes to our bodies. Studies show that we spend an average of 3-4 hours per day staring down at our cell phones or tablets. This isn’t only straining to the eyes, but it also causes our bodies to be hunched over for prolonged periods of time. Between that and sitting at a desk all day, our bodies are no doubt screaming for relief!

We know we should take time away from the office or computer daily to get outside, go for a run, or hit the gym. However, for busy professionals who are just lucky enough to have a moment to step away from their desk to scarf down lunch in between meetings and deadlines, sometimes those things just aren’t a realistic possibility.

Sitting in these static positions all day can leave your neck, shoulders, back, and hips feeling tight and most likely out of their proper alignment. In light of that fact, here are 5 stretches you can do every day (and anywhere) to combat these stubborn aches and pains.

Chest Opener

You need this one if you spend a lot of time hunched over a keyboard. Rest your chin onto your neck and reach your arms behind you until your hands meet. Interlace your fingers and lift your arms up until you feel a stretch in your chest and front shoulders. Hold for 10 seconds, release, and repeat.

Hip Release

Tight hip flexors are a common problem for people who sit in a chair all day. Kneel on the floor and step your left leg out in front of you at a 90-degree angle, placing your left foot flat on the floor. Press your hips forward until you start feeling a stretch. For an added stretch, raise your right hand above your head. Hold for 10-15 seconds and then switch sides.

Trunk Rotation

Lie on your back with your arms and legs open and relaxed. Bring your knees to your chest, and then let them both slowly fall to one side of your body, while keeping your upper torso neutral and your arms on the floor. Hold for 10-15 seconds and then move to the other side. Repeat 2-3 times.

Shoulder Rolls

Practice rolling your shoulders forward and backward several times to loosen up your upper body. Do 10 reps each way, rest and repeat 2-3 times.

Head-to-Toe Stretch

Stand up and reach your arms high over your head until you feel a stretch. Hold for about 8-10 seconds and then reach your hands down to your toes. Hold for 8-10 seconds and repeat.

For more soothing stretches, check out 5 Stretches To Help Improve Your Posture.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

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