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Fitness in Bed
April 11, 2013 COMMENT comment
     
Fitness in Bed
By Madhulika Dash
 
Sex may not be the only way to keep fit and happy; stretches too can get you an equally great start and a good ending to a day, if not better. It's not us – the experts say so! Stretching may not help you get a Bipasha or Madonna like figure but it can help you energise instantly and stay fresh and happy throughout the day.
 
What would you give for that extra few minutes of precious snooze time on a cold morning? Or an easier sleep at night? A hand, an arm, a leg? You said it! Unfortunately, in a time when early birds only take the worm (read: rewards) – business and otherwise – poor sleep has little choice but to be sacrificed. But what if we tell you that a few more minutes in bed is good not only for your health but also to sleep better and rise refreshed?

Called 'Bedercise', a set of exercises (mainly stretches) created by sports specialist Sue Jepson from Manchester Metropolitan University on the occasion of the "National Love Your Bed Day" will do the trick. And the best part, these simple exercises can help you not only wake up feeling fresh, happy and energised, but can also help you sleep soundly – even if it's just for six hours. In fact, a recent Japanese study found that if you exercise at night, you increase the chances of waking up feeling less tired the next day. Apparently this is due to the increase in testosterone levels that help you feel all 'waked up'.

Agrees well-known orthopaedic and author of Calm Sutra, Dr Dilip Nadkarni. "Stretching is a very important part of being fit. It can give you some real good benefits." "When you stretch," adds fitness lecturer and consultant, Parag Parulekar, "you automatically allow the synopial fluid in your joints to flow, which makes your muscle and bones flexible and less prone to wear and tear or even injuries."

Agrees Rebook Head fitness trainer, Vinata Shetty, "It enables your muscle to relax that have got in a static state due to long hours of sedentary state."

"Stretching, when done properly," says Shetty, "also helps the blood circulation that helps you relax and thus sleep better. The rise in blood circulation also helps evade joint issues and back problems as it works out the ligaments that stay in a passive state through the day."

While it is true that stretching will not help you get a Bipasha or Madonna-like figure or treat your diabetes and high cholesterol issue, stretching for even 15 minutes on the bed or yoga mat can help you energise instantly and stay fresh and happy throughout the day, says Shetty. This is because of the breathing pattern, which is pretty close to what is done in yoga, and thus helps the heart pump blood better to the body. Says Dr Nadkarni, "A warm body allows you that extra room to push your limits. It also keeps you in a happy mood because of the easy blood circulation and you 'fatigue' less," she says.

So what kind of stretches are good? According to Parulekar, while the dynamic stretch (which is your usual movement in the morning ) is good for the day, passive stretch is recommended in the evening. But the key to good stretching is to know how much to stretch and for how long. Parulekar and Shetty believe that any action that is in the opposite direction of the muscle work is a good stretch. However, they caution, excessive, unnatural pain is a sign to stop, and always hold the position for minimum 10-15 seconds (which is 35 counts) for the stretch to be beneficial. The time allows the brain to register the stretch and respond accordingly.

So next time you cannot sleep, don't pop a pill, just stretch!

STRETCH YOUR BENEFITS
Don't know where to start? Fitness expert Vinata Shetty gives you simple stretches that are easy to do and works like great pick me up.

Baby cuddle: Hugging your knees to your chest helps release the tension in your lower back. Have a back issue? Then try doing it with the pillow for support.

The spinal twist:Dropping your knees to one side helps relax the obliques and lower back muscles. Repeat on other side for better stretching of the muscles. Best for those in the desk for long.

Hamstring stretch:Lying on your back, raise one leg up towards the ceiling. Gently holding shins, bring leg towards you. Repeat with other leg. Th is works the calf muscle and those of the thighs; best for those who travel by foot.

Cobra post: Lying on stomach, palms close to your chest, lift upper body and stretch your abdominals.

Child's pose: On your hands and knees, then gently bring your hip to your heels, forehead on floor and arms straight. Stretch your back.

Remember to hold all stretches for at least 20 seconds. While stretching, breathe normally while holding a stretch.
 
 
 
 
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