Health & Longevity

5 Stretches You Can Do When Stuck in Bed

Being stuck in bed can actually take a significant toll on your body. Human beings weren’t meant to be sedentary. Our bodies are made for motion, meant to move around and engage in physical activity.

Unfortunately, that’s not always something one can do.

Maybe you’re suffering from a chronic illness that severely impairs your mobility. Maybe you’re recovering from a significant injury or surgery, and require extensive bed-rest. Or maybe you’re an older individual who requires more rest than average.

Whatever the case, being bedridden can lead to an entire laundry list of health problems, including circulatory issues, muscle degeneration, and bedsores. The good news is that these are all relatively simple to manage and avoid.

All that’s required is a bit of regular movement.

With that in mind, here are a few of the best stretches to do when you’re stuck in bed.

Stretch 1: Full Body Hold

  1. Start by reaching above your head and clasping your hands together, palms out.
  2. From here, point your toes and stretch your legs as much as you can. You should be able to feel the muscles in your body stretching out and flexing as you do this, reducing any stiffness you might be experiencing as a result of being bedbound.
  3. Hold this stretch for about five to 10 seconds, and repeat until you feel relaxed.

Stretch 2: Hamstring Stretch

Since your legs have some of the largest veins in your body, we’ll start with a stretch to help you promote better circulation there.

  1. While laying down, lift one of your legs straight up into the air, keeping the knee slightly bent.
  2. Grab your calf, and stretch out the hamstring.
  3. Hold for a few seconds, taking deep breaths as you do.
  4. Repeat with the other leg.

Stretch 3: Seated Leg Folds

This stretch targets your legs and hips, while also giving a bit of work to your back and abdominal muscles.

  1. For the first, sit up and prop yourself up on a pillow. Brace your back against your headboard or the wall if you need to.
  2. Spread your legs as wide as you can, and flex your feet when you do so.
  3. Lean forward, first towards one leg, then towards the other.
  4. Repeat a few times, taking deep breaths with each stretch.

Alternatively, you can keep your legs held together, slowly leaning forward to your legs, arms out.

Stretch 4: Supine Stretch and Twist

  1. Start by laying flat on your back and bending your legs up until the soles of your feet touch your bed.
  2. From here, pull your legs slowly and gently towards your chest with your hands. You should end up in a sort of modified fetal position, with your hands wrapped around your shins and your knees near your chest.
  3. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds, taking deep, relaxing breaths as you do. Next, rock gently from side to side for another 10 to 15 seconds.
  4. Finally, release your legs and spread your arms out to either side of your body.
  5. Keep your upper body flat against the bed, and slowly rotate your legs towards one side of your body, keeping them bent.
  6. Hold this position for a few seconds while taking deep breaths, then shift to the other side.
  7. Repeat several times.

Stretch 5: Neck and Shoulder Stretch

Ideally, this exercise should be done from a sitting, cross-legged position. If this is infeasible, it’s possible to do it while reclining. However, it may not be as effective.

  1. Start by placing your right hand on your head, and slowly tilting your head in the opposite direction until you feel a bit of a stretch.
  2. Hold for about 30 seconds, then repeat with the left hand and the left side.
  3. Next, link your hands above your head, and raise them up as high as you can, stretching out your shoulders.
  4. Tilt your head upwards.
  5. Hold this position for another 30 seconds.

Take Control While Bedbound

Being bedbound can cause a lot of problems for your muscles and circulation. Fortunately, there’s an easy enough fix. The stretches above, combined with a bit of light exercise, can go a long way towards making you both happier and healthier.

That said, it’s important to note that none of these stretches should be done without first consulting a medical professional. Otherwise, there’s a chance you might injure yourself or exacerbate your condition. Note also that if you’re unable to do these exercises entirely on your own, you can enlist your caregiver’s assistance.

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