Doctors Recommend Lifting Your Arms Overhead More Often, and Here Are 9 Reasons Why
There are plenty of training plans and programs out there. Some promise that we’ll become skinny by doing almost nothing, while others seem more like army preparation. But what should we do when we just want to feel a little bit better after a tough day? Apparently, we need to raise our hands!
Bright Side has found 9 reasons why this easy exercise can improve our health.
1. Opening tight shoulders
This is for those of us who spend a lot of time hunched over the table looking at a computer. When we sit this way for a long time, our muscles get misused and as a result, we’re left with limited motion and stiffness.
First of all — straighten out. Second of all — stretch. Make fists, lift your hands from the hips overhead, put them together, inhale, put the arms down, and repeat. It will help you to release the tension in your shoulders and neck.
2. Improving poor posture and opening the chest
Most health problems come about due to bad habits, and guess what? Slouching is one of them! We think this is the most comfortable way to sit, but it’s very bad for us. We could all use to correct our posture. Lifting the arms overhead is a good start.
Just lift your arms and make them as perpendicular to the ground as you can. Repeat it every 20 minutes and try to leave your spine in the same position as you put your arms down. You’ll be sitting more healthily in no time!
3. Strengthening weak shoulders and arms
One of the first poses you’ll discover in yoga class is called Urdhva Hastasana. It literally translates to “raised hands pose”. It’s not hard to do, but it helps to make your shoulders and arms strong.
Be sure to take your time with this pose. Find a good position, place your feet shoulder-width apart, lift your arms overhead, stay that way for some time, then start to make slopes backward and forward. When you feel tension in the shoulders, put your hands down and relax. Then go to the next pose with your hands overhead. It can be either the Warrior or Utkatasana.
4. Preventing lower back pain
The reason for lower back pain is more often hidden in spinal structure changes. Due to age or a sedentary lifestyle, the vertebrae become more fragile and less movable. Intervertebral discs (which are supposed to work as a cushion between vertebrae) dry out.
As a result, nerves, which are rooted to the spinal cord (there are 31 pairs), and are in charge of movement and of sending signals from the body to the brain, can be sandwiched between vertebrae.
Raising your hands and stretching upward can also help to avoid lower back pain.
5. Improving balance
Balance is something we need for walking, leaning without falling, sit down on a chair, and much more. Poor balance can be attributed to weak muscles or damage to the balance organ in the inner ear, nerves, heart or blood vessels. There are a lot of organs involved, so if you permanently feel dizzy — visit a doctor.
But if you’re more clumsy than your friends are and it bothers you — just lift your arms. Do simple day-to-day exercises with your arms up.
6. Getting rid of text-neck syndrome
Text-neck syndrome is one of the social media diseases you can get by looking down at your phone’s screen. Our necks have more weight to carry when we crane them, so they get tired faster.
It can lead to many bad things, even permanent arthritic damage.
Again, give yourself, your neck and your eyes a break. Lift your hands up, turn your head to the left and to the right, and take 15 minutes breaks from using your phone.
7. Avoiding weakness in the legs or spine
Weakness in the legs or the spine can be a result of bad blood circulation. One of the ways to increase blood circulation is to lift your arms above your head.
You should address the shoulders, even if they’re not flexible — there’s no way you can do it without straightening them out. And when you’re straightening out, the spinal column and soft tissues move, causing blood circulation to get better.
8. Treating the stomach
After a meal, playing a sport isn’t the greatest idea, but performing a few slow, arm-lifting exercises can actually help to lower the time food takes to move through the large intestine.
When we lift the arms, the gastrointestinal tract becomes more direct and the food runs through faster. This is a good preventive measure against fermentation, putrefactive phenomena, and an imbalance of intestinal microflora.
9. Saying goodbye to fatigue
If you feel it’s hard to do everyday things that you always used to do, you might be suffering from fatigue. Fatigue can be mental or physical, but more often, it’s both. Usually, changes in lifestyle, habits, and food ration can help, but nobody can change everything in a day, so exercises would be a good thing to start with.
Yoga can help you to sleep better and can give you energy for the day. It all depends on which poses you do. There are a few that include arm lifting.
Do you regularly do exercises, including arm lifting? Does it make you feel better? Share with us in the comments below!
Illustrated by Ekaterina Gapanovich for BrightSide.me