As an academic expert on nonverbal communication, I’m often asked by professional women how they can physically improve their executive presence. They’re usually surprised when I suggest a theraband and a yoga mat.
Stretching is an ideal way to achieve two major goals. First, to reduce tension, which you’re most likely holding in your neck and shoulders. And second, to improve your posture, which gets more stooped and collapsed as the years progress. When you release that tension, lengthen your spine, and lift your chest, you project a sense of ease and authority that silently bespeaks confidence and authority.
I asked Katherine Coffee, health and fitness pro at Lake Austin Spa Resort, to add her insights on stretching. I’ve taken a terrific stretch class with Katherine, and I love her CD, “Full Circle Stretch.” It will guide you through a series of safe, effective stretches for the entire body.
Katherine, what are the benefits of stretching?
Stretching releases tightness and tension from the body. It also improves range of motion, which helps us in everyday activities as well as in sports. And it feels so good!
Does stretching get more important as we get older? Why?
Yes, it does become more important as we mature, because the body gets tighter as we get older. And keeping the body mobile and flexible is very important for preventing injuries such as pulled muscles. Staying limber helps older adults keep their balance, so they are less likely to experience falls.
Any tips for how we can build a stretch practice into an existing workout routine?
It’s best to stretch a little bit each day. Try taking stretch breaks every hour at work, or doing your stretches while watching the evening news, or following along with a stretch routine.
And while you’re down there on the yoga mat, listen to one of Dr. George Russell’s guided meditations. You don’t even need a theraband!
PS–For more advice on improving the executive presence of your voice, click here.
Photo by Akuppa