Who says you have to hit the gym or go on a crash diet to lose those extra pounds? You could turn the bed at your hotel into your workout zone and flex a muscle or two with some simple exercises. Executive Traveller tells you how.
Sleep specialists claim that one in every five adults suffers from the early stages of sleep deprivation, thanks to their hectic lifestyle. Throw in unhealthy food habits and lack of exercise along with it and you got yourself a lifetime of medical expenses ahead. It’s a tough price to pay for executives and business travellers who find it hard to squeeze in a workout in their busy schedule. This is where ‘Bedercise’ comes to the rescue.
Devised by sports specialist Sue Jepson from Manchester Metropolitan University, these exercises can be performed in the comfort of your bed. By increasing the level of testosterone in your body, working out this way energises you.
A recent Japanese study states that if you stretch just before going to sleep, you sleep better. Orthopedic expert and author of Calm Sutra, Dr. Dilip Nadkarni agrees to the theory. “Stretching is a very important part of being fit. In fact, it’s the first rule of the SWAN Formula. It helps calm your body and also relaxes the tired muscles making you less prone to injury.”
Fitness lecturer and consultant Parag Parulekar, who has been an avid advocate of stretching – in bed or otherwise- adds, “When you stretch, you automatically allow the synopial fluid in your joints to flow, which makes your muscles and bones flexible and less prone to wear and tear and injuries.”
“This reduces chances of sudden muscular twists and jerks, which is the first step to any injury. And with the muscles more flexible, you remain at ease,” says Dr Nadkarni, who also cautions against stretching on too soft a surface.
Reebok’s head fitness trainer, Vinata Shetty, feels it’s important to stretch right. “Stretching improves blood circulation which in turn helps you relax and sleep better. The increase in blood circulation also fixes joint pain and back problems as it works out the ligaments that stay inactive throughout the day.”
“It is however”, adds the expert, “not a substitute to your gym routine, and will not result in weight loss.”
Yet the benefit of stretching at night surpasses night strolls. To begin with, Dr Nadkarni says. “Stretching at night helps prevent joint pain in the morning. But never stretch if you’ve slept in the cold, as in such conditions, muscles are more prone to damage. So if you are stretching in the morning, try spot walking for 5 minutes before you start working the muscles”, says Parulekar.
“A firm bed ensures right body posture and prevents undue pressure on the joints which are fragile and prone to damage in the morning.”
“Stretching for 15 minutes on the bed/yoga mat can help you energise instantly and stay fresh and happy throughout the day”, says Shetty. The reason behind this is the breathing pattern one follows, which aids better blood circulation. “A warm body”, says Dr. Nadkarni, “is elastic – it can handle stress and stretch. It allows you the extra room to push your limits. It also keeps you in a happy mood because the blood circulation keeps you free from fatigue.”
So what kinds of stretching are appropriate for the mornings and evenings? 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. It also enhances your neurotransmitters that keeps you alert.” But the key to good stretching is to remember how much to stretch and for how long. Just remember. Excessive and unnatural pain is a sign to stop.
So next time you cannot sleep, don’t pop a pill, just stretch.