Stretch Away your Aches and Pains, Even at the Office
Being sedentary for a prolonged period of time can be bad for your health.
Whether you find yourself regularly sitting at a desk, behind a steering wheel or in front of a screen, take time out of your work day (or day off) to get moving.
Here are a few easy stretches that can be done anywhere, including your office:
- Shoulder rolls: Roll them forward and backward while your back and neck are straight.
- Neck rotations: Keep your back straight and bring your chin towards your chest, then roll your head to one shoulder and then to the other. Make sure the motion is slow and controlled, and be sure to relax your shoulders.
- Chest stretches: Using an open doorway, keep your hands and arms about chest height while grabbing the door frame. Next, slowly walk your body forward until you feel a good stretch through the chest. Be sure to keep squeezing your shoulder blades together.
- Back and hip stretch: Sit down and scoot up to the front of a non-rolling chair. With your knees apart, bend at the waist and reach toward the floor until a nice stretch is felt through the back and hips.
- Neck side bender: While sitting or standing, drop your head to one shoulder and come up and over with your arm to give your head a gentle push. The stretch should be felt through the side of your neck. If it is more comfortable, skip the push and simply let your head fall to one shoulder.
To get the most out of any stretch:
- Keep good posture, as poor positioning can cause pain or injury.
- Relax your shoulders. Tension can lead to neck pain and headaches.
- If a stretch requires reaching, do so with purpose and energy–engage your core muscles.
- The longer you hold a stretch, the better. A mild stretch should be held for at least 20-30 seconds.
Erika Smith is the Fitness Coordinator at The Lifestyle Center. She earned her bachelor’s of science degree in Health Promotion from Lynchburg College and her personal trainer certification through the American Fitness and Aerobics Association.