It is time to introduce baby step #3 of our Be Intentional Challenges! We LOVE this one! It is only 5-minutes but makes for a huge positive difference in our day and our physical well-being. I would probably say this is my (Cassie) favorite Baby Step!
As a reminder, the 30 challenges this month are designed to get you on the right foot, the right track and give you energy, efficiency and organization which will propel you into a life that is able to develop an overall financially smart, happy and frugal home.
We encourage couples and families to do these challenges together so the whole house can function well!
As the 30 days go along, we will be focusing on 5 areas for the Be Intentional Month:
And so we are on Self still today!
We are starting with the things that take care of yourself first and towards the top of the baby steps as it is important to take care of yourself, especially since we are doing the challenges this month for you to be at the top of your game. We encourage you to read the introduction to this month’s challenges to understand what we are doing this month.
Baby Step #3
Do A 5 Minute Stretching and Breathing Exercise Daily
I LOVE this one!! Stretching and deep breathing help all of us in our home tremendously! We do it first thing when we wake up, or after a workout on the days we do an intense at home workout.
First, stretching is important for flexibility, improved circulation, stress relief and general health. For further reading on the topic of stretching, check out these articles from reputable health and medical sites.
- Why You Should Stretch from Reader’s Digest
- Why Do You Stretch After Sleeping from Live Strong
- 6 Reasons You Should Love Stretching Your Comfort Zone from PickYourBrain
We just do basic stretching for 5 minutes in the morning. We don’t have a specific way of doing it, just what feels good. But we would recommend following some simple stretching routines to get the hang of it. We also sometimes stretch for about 5 minutes before we go to bed as it seems to help us sleep better – mostly because I (Cassie) have nerve damage in the right side of my body as well as a herniated disc in my back and sleeping can be difficult. Stretching tends to help loosen the nerves to help me sleep better. In general, stretching feels so amazing for our bodies!
Plus if you workout first thing in the morning, you got yourself loosened up and multi-task 🙂
Here’s some different 5 minute stretching exercises that we found online. Hopefully one of these will fit you!
- 5 Minute stretching exercises #1 HERE
- 5 Minute stretching exercises #2 HERE
- 5 Minute stretching exercises #3 HERE
Or feel free to use the ones from this video:
Also, I use to work at Curves and their stretching chart is quite helpful. If you want to print something off to follow, you can download and print the Curves Flexibility chart below!
|<== Download your printable Stretching Chart HERE.|
So the second thing to do is a breathing exercise too! After researching, reading and watching health shows, they all mention how important deep breathing is for energy, getting oxygen to all parts of the body, and general health. So we multi-task again and combine our stretching with deep breathing! We also try to take deep breaths whenever stress is hitting us throughout the day. We even start our daily homeschool with prayer first and then a stretching and deep breathing for the kids so that they are on top of their game too!
WebMD talks about deep breathing for general health. This is what they say:
“Have you ever noticed how you breathe when you feel relaxed? The next time you are relaxed, take a moment to notice how your body feels. Or think about how you breathe when you first wake up in the morning or just before you fall asleep. Breathing exercises can help you relax, because they make your body feel like it does when you are already relaxed.
Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body. Those things that happen when you are stressed, such as increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure, all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax.
The way you breathe affects your whole body. Breathing exercises are a good way to relax, reduce tension, and relieve stress.
Breathing exercises are easy to learn. You can do them whenever you want, and you don’t need any special tools or equipment to do them.
You can do different exercises to see which work best for you.”
With that, here are some breathing exercises that we found online:
- Deep Breathing for General Health and Proper Breathing Steps from Discovery Health
- Three Breathing Exercises from Dr. Weil (he was actually one of the main ones that convinced us to the importance of deep breathing. We don’t do meditative breathing like Dr. Weil,, just deep breathing for health using the suggestions he has. Our day always starts with prayer first, that does not come with our exercise 😉 In fact, Deep Breathing is at the very top of Dr. Weil’s tips for living healthy. Check out this statement: “deep breathing raises levels of blood oxygen, promoting health in many ways — from stimulating the digestive process to improving fitness and mental performance. Even alternative health icon Dr. Andrew Weil says: ‘If I had to limit my advice on healthier living to just one tip, it would be simply to learn how to breathe correctly.‘”
So now, here’s how we combine the two with our stretching exercises to maximize time and to get oxygen to those “newly stretched” areas too!
- Immediately after starting the next stretch, we take a deep breath in through our noses and pull in as much air as we can, even trying one more breath in after we think we have reached our intake limit.
- We then hold this breath in for a count of 3-5 seconds while still holding the stretch.
- We then let the air out through our mouths and push as much air out as possible.
- We repeat the above three steps during each stretch (so each stretch is held for a count of two breathing exercises)
- Then we move on to the next stretch while deep breathing exercise
For encouragement, discussions and reminders on our Be Intentional Baby Steps, head to the Be Intentional with The Thrifty Couple Facebook Page HERE and ask to join us there! You can also invite friends and spouses too!