Isometric exercises do not require any obvious changes in movement or posture, so it can be done discretely while going about your everyday situations, such as working or in the presence of other people.
It's important to point out that these exercises, when practiced regularly, get you in tune with your body's tension and teaches you to release that tension. While training, you may have to do them a number of times throughout the day to maintain a relaxed state, especially during stressful times. The more you practice, the better you will get, and the less and less time it will take to do them! If you do them faithfully enough, you may just find yourself doing them without thinking about them by habit !
These exercises are meant to be gentle and done slowly. The goal is to relax so trying to rush through them will not work as well. It is advised to hold your tension at minimum 5 seconds but 7 seconds is better but do not exceed 7 seconds! Always begin these exercises with a small breath and hold it for 5 seconds while you tighten/tense your muscles at the same time, then breathe out 5 seconds while you relax your muscles and breathe out gently saying to yourself...."relax".
Some easy ways to use isometric exercises:
- crossing your legs (at the ankles), press them together and tense up and hold
- hold onto your chair by placing your hands under the sides of the chair and pull up
- place hands behind your head , lock your fingers together and then push your head back and hold
- tightly grip onto an immobile object and tense up for 5 seconds, allowing the tension to go up the arm
- cup hands together and try to pull them apart (this can work in front of you or in back of you)
- tighten thigh/buttock muscles while sitting in a chair and hold
- holding hands palm to palm, press together and hold
- when standing- you tighten your legs and press your knees as far back as they will go and hold
Important things to note...
It's important to recognize your muscles when you are tense. When you notice certain muscles tense up use these exercises to target those muscles.
Relaxation is a skill that's learned - it gets better and better the more you practice !!! Do them whenever you feel tense or stressed.
The idea of these exercises is to help you develop a positive habit of releasing tension by relaxing.
Isometric exercises can work for everyone! If you find they are not working, it is usually due to negative self-talk or the fact that you are not practicing them enough. You are encouraged to practice more while talking to yourself in a more truthful, positive way.