Adulting is hard – whether you’ve been at it for years or are just beginning. There are a million demands at work. If you have kids, raising them is another full-time job. And there are always plenty of bills to pay, errands to run and chores to do.
The hectic nature of our lives makes it easy to get stressed out both mentally and physically. And while yoga studios and group fitness classes promise to bring stress relief, lots of us roll our eyes thinking, “Who really has time for that?!”
As a certified personal trainer for Physicians Neck & Back Center (PNBC), I strongly urge you to make time to exercise. Motion is lotion for your body. And in the long run, it will protect you from experiencing chronic pain. But I also understand how busy life can be. And because of that, I’m a huge proponent of progressive muscle relaxation, too.
What is progressive muscle relaxation?
This technique helps relax your mind, muscles and tissues. It’s an exercise that improves awareness in your body.
How you ask? By contracting different muscle groups and then releasing them. As you do this, the tension in those muscle groups eases. And you don’t even have to leave your home or buy any fancy equipment to do it!
I teamed up with Minnesota Public Radio to create this video that guides you through a full-body progressive muscle relaxation:
It takes about 10 minutes to get through the full relaxation. The video talks you through what to do with the muscles up around your eyebrows, all the way down to the ones in your toes. It spends time on the shoulders and neck, which are spots where a lot of us hold tension when we’re under stress or anxiety. And it teaches you how to work on your breathing and focus on how you feel.
But the beauty of it is that if you don’t have a full 10 minutes to spare, even watching just a segment can help. Try to take small moments throughout the week to listen to your body. Then tune into the part of the video that works on the area that’s giving you the most grief.
How does stress affect my health? Can it be dangerous if I don’t take time to relax?
If a muscle is constantly in a state of tightness, it can have negative effects on the health of your body. Releasing muscle tension helps relieve and prevent pain, increase mobility and improve posture. Doing this will also help you understand your body and how it works with your mind. You’ll find that regularly taking a few minutes to breathe and reflect will help give you the ability to manage the daily stress that you face.
PNBC is a leader in creating unique physical therapy programs that are customized to treat the chronic neck and back pain of each individual. When you come to PNBC, you are treating your pain in a way that really works. In fact, we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of people become pain-free and get back to their lives since our founding in 1990.
There are six PNBC locations in the Twin Cities: