Friday 23 February 2018

Stretches you can do at your desk- no more excuses

neck stretch


When I ask my clients if they have a daily stretch routine, most say that there simply is not enough time in the day for it.  I know how busy life can be and we are creatures of habit, so if we don’t habitually stretch, let’s face it, it’s not going to happen.  The truth is that massage therapy is simply stretching, it just allows a second party to target specific muscles that you otherwise might not be able to stretch on your own. Also, let’s face it, massage feels better then stretching on your own.  Five to ten minutes of stretching a day is better then none and there are stretches you can do at your desk in between meetings or during conference calls. In this post, I will reveal stretches for some of  the most common muscular problems, the neck, back and shoulders.

NECK: A lot of people hold tension in their neck and if you’re lucky the pain stays in the neck. If you are one of the many unlucky ones though, neck tension can often lead to headaches or migraines.  There are six ranges of motion in the neck and a stretch for each of them.  They can all me done in less then five minutes if you hold each stretch for 30-45 seconds. To begin these stretches you have to first sit upright in your chair placing your hands on either side of the you, making sure you evenly distribute your weight.

  • neck flexion (chin to chest)
  • neck extension (lean your head back)
  • right lateral flexion (right ear to right shoulder)
  • left later flexion (left ear to left shoulder)
  • right rotation (chin to right shoulder)
  • left rotation (chin to left shoulder)

This seems simple, and it is for some. But most people struggle to complete these motions and the more you stretch, the more flexible the muscles in your neck will become.  Maybe eventually, you won’t have to turn your entire body when you go to change lanes. Think about it.

BACK: A common complaint of desk workers is pain in their lower back. Stretching the Gluteals and hamstring muscle groups can also help to relieve pressure off of the lower back. Let’s look at some simple lower back stretches.

  • Lower back extension: Lay prone with your legs straight out. Use your hands to lift yourself up (if you are familiar with yoga poses, it is known as “cobra”).
  • Lower back flexion (cat stretch): lay on all fours and lift your lower back towards the sky while keeping your head down.
  • Another great stretch is what they call “hanging tree” in yoga. Spread your legs out a little wider then shoulder width, straighten your legs and bend at the waist. Cross your arms and hang until you feel the traction in your lower back.

SHOULDERS:  If you work with your arms in front of you, you will struggle with posture issues and shoulder pain. It is impossible to be aware of your body mechanics 100% of the time. When you are involved with work, attention to these details gets put to the wayside. Stretching your pectoral is a good way to “deshrug” your shoulders and straighten them out.

  • Pectoral stretch: aka the door frame stretch. With your hand, grab onto a door frame and step forward until your body is in front of your arm. Make sure your arm is horizontal and straight, stretching your pecs. Also make sure to twist at the hip, not at the shoulder.
  • Deltoid and Triceps stretch: Place your hand on the opposite shoulder. Use your other hand to push your elbow into your opposite shoulder. Hold then switch sides.

There are many ways to stretch the shoulders. None of which make you look normal, so you will have to get over looking strange in and around your office while stretching.

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