Most of us spend many hours working on computers, perhaps hunched, or seated in a wrong or passive position.
Furthermore, social distancing implies opportunities to move around, reducing our activity and movements, especially those between home and work place.
Are you familiar with back, wrists or neck pain, shoulders or hips stiffness? Whatever is the answer, these home stretching exercises are perfect for you.
We know, it’s not always easy to find the time to take care of aches and pains. But you can stretch anywhere in a few minutes, every day, if you really care of your wellbeing (and we’re sure you do!).
Try these stretching exercises at your desk, or whenever you want, to ease back pain and boost your focus and energy.
Why is Home Stretching Routine Important?
Let’s be honest. Working from home isn’t the easiest thing as it requires adequate tools plus quiet and comfortable space with no distractions.
And what about focus and motivation? Here's the secret: they come from within us. We need to cultivate our inner strength which can give us the tools to better deal with situations, even when they are super challenging.
So it’s up to you. Are you willing to fight that back pain and joints stiffness and boost your energy and productivity? Our simple stretching exercises at home - or anywhere - will release tension in your body, and in your mind too!
They take only a few minutes and, if done properly and day after day, you will see amazing results: exactly, we don’t promise overnight results, as our body needs time to “repair” and needs so much care.
At Crownhealth, we are all about living a healthy and active lifestyle where healthy and clean eating, mindfulness and exercising are the mandatory ingredients. Our body wellness is so important and you better stick with this home stretching routine if you want to reach your wellness goals.
Some gentle stretching and an active lifestyle will help keep your muscles flexible and strong, promoting your range of motion and preventing injury.
Studies have shown harmful effects of limited physical activity on mental and physical health due to social distancing and quarantine and highlights the effects of simple physical activity regimes counteracting these detrimental effects.
Three Small, But Important Tips for Working From Home
1. Make sure you're sitting in the right position
Back pain, especially lower back pain, is extremely common, brought on by movement, activity or even the opposite. Staying in a seated position throughout the day in a less-than-optimal desk chair can bring on the pain.
So make sure you stay in an upright seated position: feet flat on the ground, knees bent 90° and hips width, drawing a straight line from perineum right beneath you to the top of your head, core engaged, close ribs, nice and long spine, shoulders relaxed and away from ears.
2. Take breaks
Whether you work on a computer seated or standing, it’s important to take breaks in order to move and take little walks.
Set the alarm on your mobile phone or computer every hour to remind you it's time to get up and take little walks.
We recommend doing stretches after sitting all day, during a break, or in the morning at least once a day.
3. Substitute active sitting for passive sitting
Get rid of your desk chair and substitute an exercise ball that fits your height in order to sit actively all day (or a few hours a day) engaging all the muscles in the back, legs, butt and core to stay balanced.
Ever thought about working on a computer standing, maybe walking on a treadmill ?
As mentioned, these desk stretches are perfect and applicable anywhere else like a yoga mat, a sofa, or on the floor.
So let’s start taking time for ourselves and creating good effective tension, reducing stiffness, from head to toe, simply stretching at home!
Stretching Exercises at Home
1. Neck Rolls
- Sit upright with both feet flat on the floor and your back straight.
- Take a few breaths in and out.
- Once comfortable, slowly roll chin to chest, to the right, up, left, all the way to your chest drawing biggest safest circles. Should take 5 breaths.
- Repeat this slow and controlled movement pattern 3 times to the right and 3 times to the left.
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2. Release Neck and Shoulders
- Seated or standing straight
- Inhale, exhale and lift your shoulder to your ears for 2
- Hold for 2
- Inhale, and drop for 2
- Arms are straight, elbows are blocked, make fists to create body tension and to focus on your shoulder articular movement
- Repeat 10 times.
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3. Wrists Controlled Articular Circles
- Bend right arm, 90 degrees. Right palm facing down. Fingers straight and toghether. Block your right forearm with opposite hand. Elbow and forearm do not move, only your wrist.
- Make biggest controlled circles with right wrist, keeping fingers straight and together, first in one direction, to the count of 10.
- Then reverse the circles.
- Do the same with left wrist
Don’t shake the hands
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4. Hug Yourself - Stretch Your Back with a Big Hug
- Sit up tall. Inhale, open arms wide
- Exhale and hug your body, placing the right hand on your left shoulder and the left hand on your right shoulder, and chin to your chest.
- Round your spine and lower your upper body, maintaining lower body active and supporting yourself.
- Inhale to go back up switching arms
- Repeat 6 times
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5. Seated Cat Cow With Arms Stretching
Perfect exercise to awake and activate your spine
- Sit up tall in your chair, or stand up. Inhale and stretch your arms overhead and interlace your fingers.
- Palm to the ceiling as you lift your chin up, tilt your head back, and gaze up at the ceiling, flexing your spine.
- Ehale, lower arms and round your spine, pulling chin to chest and tucking your pelvis.
- Repeat 15 times
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6. Figure Four / Hip FlexorsPerfect execise to awake and activate your spine.
- Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet hip-width apart, directly under your knees.
- Cross one ankle over the opposite knee and flex your foot.
- Gently stretch forward, pulling belly in and chest forward. Dont’ round your spine. Pull the bended knee down to create more space in your hip.
- Butt goes back and neck is nice and long. Shoulders away from ears. Breathe quietly in and out from your nose, inhaling for 6 seconds and exhaling for 6 seconds. Stay actively there.
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7. Forward Fold
This stretch will undo the chaos of your workday. Use it to calm your mind, let tensions fall off from your back, and create space in your low back after hours at desk
- Stand up
- Inhale, exhale and forward fold gently, bending your knees so that your legs are in contact with your chest and you try lift your butt to the cealing
- Grab elbows with opposite hands
- Stay there for 10 breaths, actively pushing feet into the ground, pulling the belly in, quads active towards your chest, relaxing your neck, creating space between shoulders and ears, shifting the weight from heel to the ball of your foot
- Feel for more space in the low back
Set yourself up for success and finish strong! Back health is so important. Avoid back, hips, shoulders and neck pain buillding strong muscles with strenght exercises and yoga. A strong body improves posture and health.
Having consistent pain? Consult a qualified physical therapist for an evaluation to determine the specific exercises or treatments that are best for you.
Author: Simona, Co-Founder at Crowhealth
Simona is a passionate and curious yogi. In her free time she hikes, rock climbing and practices yoga continuing her teacher training education. Learning how to understand deeply and take care of our body is her mission.
Photo credit @luxyoga