Did you know that regular stretching is just as important as regular exercise? Stretching assists in correct posture by lengthening tight muscles that pull areas of the body away from their intended position. Most of us spend a lot of time at our computers, which creates tight chest muscles. This pulls the shoulders and head forward, leaving us with a hunched shoulder look.
Another part of our bodies that suffers when we sit down all day is our glutes. When you’re sitting, the nerves that activate your glutes can shut down in a very short period of time. If you are a repetitive sitter, the glute muscle begins the process of atrophy. This means that the glute muscle begins to degenerate. When your glutes shut down, other muscles and joints in your body become over-stressed and can result in pain in places such as the knees and lower back.
Your thoracic spine, which is located in the middle of your back, can also suffer from long hours at a desk. When your thoracic spine becomes tight, it can create many problems up and down your body such as neck and shoulder tightness or your chest becoming unstable or weak.
The moral of the story: Stretch your whole body throughout the day! Here are some stretches you can do to make sure you are not hunching over your computer today!
Fun Stretches brought to you by Triangle Spine Center:
1) Sully’s Choice: The Crossing Guard. Extend your arm out (like you’re a crossing guard stopping oncoming traffic) Keeping your arm straight at the elbow, use your opposite hand to pull your fingers back until you feel a gentle stretch in the forearm.
2) Sam’s Choice. Partner Pull For this one you will need a friend. Stand facing your partner about 6 inches apart. Grab each other’s wrists, while both partners lean back. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
3) Franks Choice: Tennis Ball Place a tennis ball on the wall. Lean in on the ball in between your shoulder blades. Next, roll on the tennis ball preferable where you’re having pain or tension. (Tip: use a tennis ball over other types of balls. The grip on the ball makes it easier to keep it in place)
4) Dr Cinnamon: Foam Roller. With the foam roller placed in the middle of your back, clasp your hands behind your head and bring your elbows together. Slowly begin to roll up to the top of your shoulder blades and down to the bottom of your rib cage. Repeat process 5 times, keeping your neck and lower back from arching.
5) Rita’s choice: Whole body Stretch. This one looks a little silly, but it feels amazing especially if you have been sitting in the same position for a few hours. Lie down on the ground. Stretch your hands high as you can over your head and point your toes as far down as you can. Hold this pose for 20 seconds. Don’t forget to breathe! Repeat 5 times. (Also great to do before you get out of your bed in the morning)