Are you working from home? Stand Up and Stretch.
When the body is stressed, muscles become tense. When muscles are taut and tense for long periods of time, this may trigger other reactions of the body and even promote stress-related disorders, such as headaches and pain.
We recommend the following at-home stretches to try while you are housebound:
Because the head is usually propped forward when working on a computer, look up as high as you comfortably can, then rotate side to side. You will usually feel the stretch in the base of your neck and the top of your chest.
This simple stretch can be done in a chair or on the floor:
- Sit with spine tall, shoulders relaxed.
- Breathe in, exhale and jut chin outward and imagine an apple under the chin.
- Drop chin down towards the chest. Hold for two slow breaths if possible.
- As you exhale bring the head back to your natural position.
You will need to stand for this one. Walk through a doorway with your hands out at shoulder level. Relax your shoulders as you stretch your arms back. If this is not enough of a stretch, move your hands up and down the doorway from head to waist height to stretch out the entire Pectoralis Major Muscle.
Shoulders, balance and concentration:
- In the standing position, extend and cross your arms at elbows out in front of you.
- Bend at elbows and intertwine to touch hands if possible.
- Draw opposite leg over the other at the knee, bend if possible.
- Wrap legs tightly around each other like a vine or modify by lifting the opposite leg off the floor with a bent knee.
- Practice balance. Have a sturdy chair or table nearby to support balance.
Sitting for long periods of time in a chair can cause muscles to become extremely tight in the legs and hips. Remembering to get up and walk around throughout the day will help a great deal. When time allows, deeper focused stretching will also provide benefits. Daily hip stretches will ease stiffness and pain.
- Stand with feet together, arms to sides.
- Step forward with one leg extended long, sweeping arms over the head, clasping hands if possible or in prayer position.
- Bend the knee of the front leg (keep bent knee directed over the heel), both feet facing forward.
- Hold this lunge for 3 breaths before returning feet together and drawing arms down.
- Repeat for the other side.
The back is a big area to stretch. We suggest sitting on the floor for this one. While sitting cross-legged (only if it is comfortable) tilt your spine to each side by reaching to the ceiling with one elbow and the floor with the other, then switch. Next, hug yourself and twist your spine as far as you can go each way. Lean forward over your legs and then lean back over a pillow or bolster (if comfortable).
Back – hamstrings:
- Stand tall with both feet approximately 6 inches apart on the floor.
- Hinging forward from hips, keeping legs straight reach towards the feet.
- Grasp big toes by interlocking fingers around the toes.
- This forward bend can be done with knees slightly bent if need be.
- Keeping breathing normally for 3 breaths and on the last exhale raise back to standing arms to your sides.
For all stretches, remember to move gently into the end of each movement—do not bounce or push the stretch past your comfort level.