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Stretch Your Way To Good Health

by Serene Ng

The saying “Health is wealth” is probably a very well known axiom to live by. Given the recent emphasis on healthy living, there has been an increase in health centres sprouting up all over Singapore.

In addition, numerous marathons and short runs organised by various organisations have attracted seasoned runners and newbies alike. The running craze is evident especially on weekends when people, young and old, gear up in sports attire and spend time ‘huffing and puffing’ around popular jogging routes in scenic Singapore.

The emphasis on exercise to promote physical well-being has influenced many. However, the body comprises of not only the physical but also the emotional and mental states. These three states must be carefully looked after with equal attention. Any failure on our part to do so will not enable us to have a healthy ‘body, mind and soul’.

In this issue of Chorus, we are going to introduce to you some stretching exercises. A large number of our church members are stationed in the office for more than eight hours a day. The following exercises which were kindly demonstrated by Saturday Praise Service’s Joel, Jonathan and Samuel can help us combat some of the physical discomforts we may experience after a day’s work. We can do some of these exercises even while seated.

The Physical

Click on image to enlarge

A Neck stretch (to stretch muscles at the sides of neck)

  1. Tilt head towards the side with ear (almost) touching shoulder

  2. Keep opposite shoulder stationary

B Neck flexion (to stretch muscles at the back of neck)

  1. Tuck chin in towards chest

  2. Bend head forward and relax the shoulders

  3. Interlock fingers and place hands on back of head

  4. Gently press head downward to increase effectiveness of stretch

C Shoulder stretch

  1. Place one hand behind neck with elbow pointing upward

  2. Place the other hand onto the outside of the elbow

  3. Push elbow down gently

D Wrist and finger stretch

  1. Extend one arm in front of you

  2. Pull fingers back towards the forearm

  3. Stretch fingers in the opposite direction onto the back of the wrist

E Lower back release

  1. Kneel down

  2. Rest buttocks on both feet

  3. Extend arms forward and feel the stretch in the spine and lower back

  4. Hold for 20-30 seconds

F Crunches (to strengthen upper abdominals)

  1. Elevate and bend your knees

  2. Tuck chin in towards chest

  3. ‘Cup’ fingers behind ears

  4. Raise head and shoulders

  5. Try to touch your knees/thighs with your elbows

G Outer calf and thigh stretch

  1. Sit on the floor

  2. Bend one leg, with the other stretched out

  3. Place both hands on toes

  4. Pull toes and ankle inwards as knee is straightened

H Squats

  1. Lean your back against the wall

  2. Bend your knees but at no greater than a 90-degree angle (note: less stressful for knees)

The Emotional

Many people have often been told that a cheerful disposition is essential to combat any emotional blues. Besides being cheerful, the more important thing is to identify the source of whom we can trust implicitly. For us, the answer is obvious: GOD! Perhaps before the start or at the end of our day, we can take time to answer these questions;

  1. Is there anything/anyone I have an issue with?

  2. Have I withheld forgiveness in any way?

  3. Is there joy in my heart and peace in my soul?

  4. Do I hold on to my troubles because I don’t trust God enough to handle them?

If our answer is “yes” to any of the questions, it may be worth the effort to take stock, and deal with it so we can move on.

The Mental

I’m sure most people are familiar with the saying “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away”. A good way to exercise our minds is to memorise a verse or a portion of Scripture and meditate on it. When we take time to do that, we are not giving the chance for negativity to linger on in our minds. Our focus is fixed on God and His wonderful promises available for us to grab hold of.

So then, for the rest of 2013, be it fun, happy, sad, or difficult moments, let us “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Bibliography George, Francine St. The Stretching Handbook – 10 Steps to Muscle Fitness. Australia: Simon & Schuster Australia, 1994.


Writer’s Profile:

Serene Ng, wife to Wong Lin Sian, mother to Ruth and Natalie affirms that in an uncertain world, the surest way to certainty and peace of mind is to “Trust and Obey”.


This article first appeared in Issue 8, August 2013 CHORUS Magazine.



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