Top 10 Stretches To Start Your Workday
Sometimes we do not have enough time to complete a whole workout routine, especially on a workday. Work usually uses up most of our time during the day. After work, we have to complete chores around the house, and for those with kids, you still have to cook and feed your kids before tucking them in for the night. There are so many hours spent sitting in front of the computer, finishing all the deadlines for the end of the day. In such cases, we forget to move and stretch our arms or legs usually ends up in cramps and an uneasy feeling develops until we realize later that our joints, muscles, and even bones are aging unwell. To compensate for the whole day in front of the computer, there are some exercises that we can do to avoid some chronic muscle and joint pain in our body.
To make your workday better, you can choose to spend some minutes doing some stretches just to ease the pain you feel in your joints and muscle. This will also allow you to relieve strain on your muscles from staying in the same position for a long time. It will also be your way of maintaining proper posture while working. Your neck, shoulders, arms, hips, back, and legs will take the toll of not moving much because of the nature of your work - be it behind a computer, behind the wheel, or anything else in between.
These are some stretches that you can do while working. Some stretches can ease tension and relieve cramps and pain in your body. Aside from the cramps and the unwanted tension in your body, the study also shows that long hours of sedentary work usually result in increased cardiovascular diseases and shortened life expectancies. These 15-30 second stretching exercises can help you prevent this unwanted pain and diseases of the body.
1. Chest and Shoulder Stretch
This stretch will help you relieve the tension in your chest and shoulder. This targets the pectoral muscles and helps to open the chest if you find yourself slumping forward while working. To do this exercise, simply put your arms behind you, clasp your hands and interlace your fingers. Gently lift your arms and feel the stretch from your chest. Raise it behind you and hold it for 15-30 seconds before you release it.
2. Hip Opener
This exercise will relieve the tension on your lower back caused by sitting in a sedentary position for long hours. To do this, you have to sit at the edge of the chair with your feet apart. Your feet should be in-line with your hips and your knees level with your feet. Cross one ankle over your knees and then you gently bend forward with your back maintaining a straight position. This will stretch your lower back and ease your muscles.
3. Forward Fold
This will also be a great stretch to start the day for your aching lower back. This pose will also allow you to calm your mind after a busy long day at work. You have to stand in front of a chair. Your hands can hold onto your elbows. Allow your arms and elbows to rest on the back of the chair on the seat. Bend forward towards your folded arms. If you use are going to bend forward all top of the seat, you may bend your knees if necessary.
4. Neck Stretch
This exercise will relieve the tension on your neck especially if you are one of those who tends to lean forward towards their computer. This will help you loosen up your tight back, relieves frequent headaches and upper back tension. You have to sit properly on your chair. Hold onto the armrest with one arm and grip the armrest or side of the chair. With the other hand, gently tilt your head to your left and feel the stretch down the side of your neck. Hold this pose for 15-30 seconds then repeat on the other side. This exercise will stretch the side of your neck and your upper back.
5. Spinal Twist
When you sit slumping on your seat, your lower back and hips will feel the tension and would be too tight at the end of the day. This exercise will help you loosen the tight muscles on your lower back. This will also affect the entire back and correct your posture. You have to sit at the edge of your chair with your feet together, flat on the floor. Gently twist to your right and then place your right hand on top of your left knee. Your left hand can grab the back of your chair as you twist to your side. Hold this pose for 15-30 seconds then do it to the other side. Make sure that you only twist as far as you still feel comfortable, otherwise, you might end up creating more damage to your spine. Gradually release your twisted position before you do it to the other side.
6. Wrist and Shoulder Release
Typing, texting, or clicking your mouse all day can tighten the muscles at your wrists, arms, and shoulders. To relieve the tension building up on your wrists, you can do a simple stretch while sitting or standing. Raise your right hand in front of you with the palm facing out. Using your left hand, gently pull your fingers towards you. Hold this for 15-30 seconds and repeat with the other hand. For your shoulders, extend both arms in front of you, interlace your fingers and gently turn your palm away from you. Stretch both arms upwards and hold for 15-30 seconds. This will stretch your shoulders, arms, and back.
7. Back Extension
This exercise will allow your back to stretch after slumping forward. This will also help you correct your posture and relieve any stress on your lower back. This will also help you open your chest and shoulders. While sitting on your chair, scoot back and make sure that your back is resting comfortably against the backrest. With your hands on your nape, assist your head as you tilt it backward. You have to make sure that your elbows are level with your head and it maintains a wide distance. Bend backward until you feel the stretch and hold it for 15-30 seconds before slowly releasing the pose.
8. Hamstring Stretch
Sitting all day can also make your thighs feel tension and tighten your muscles here. To make sure that your thighs will not cramp, you can use this stretching exercise. Make sure that you are sitting at the edge of your chair. One foot planted on the floor. You also have to make sure that your head is aligned with your spine. Flex your right foot forward and gently lean forward and try to reach your right toes. Ensure that your right leg is straight. Hold this for 15-30 seconds, gently release then do it with the other leg. This will help relieve the tension in your legs and lower back caused by prolonged sitting while working.
9. Low Back Release
This kind of exercise can help you relieve the pressure on your lower back caused by long hours on your chair. All you have to do is find a sturdy chair where you can sit sideways. Hold the back of the chair with the hands closest to it and slowly bend forward until you feel the stretch but still feel comfortable. As you twist forward, you can reach your other arm towards the opposite knee. Hold this pose for 15-30 seconds and gently release. Then do this on the other side.
10. Side Bend (Seated Position)
This exercise will enable you to loosen the tight muscles of your sides and back. This will also regain the natural flow of blood in your arms. Just like the side bend in a standing position, you raise your arm and bend in the opposite direction. Hold the pose for 15-30 seconds then gently release. Then you can do this on the opposite side with the other arm raised.
All these exercises and stretches can be done while taking a short break from working. You can do this whenever you feel a tight muscle in your body or if your muscles tend to be tighter than usual. You do not need a very long break, nor do all these stretches at once. You can choose which exercises while you stimulate your brain cells and relieve the tension from your sore muscles. It will also help with blood circulation and correcting your posture.
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