Everyone knows that exercise is a part of healthy living but do you consider a stretching routine part of your exercise program or as an afterthought that gets done only if time permits? Since no one ever has enough time, it’s time for you to reconsider how you view stretching and consider adding it to your daily routine whether you exercise or not.
4 IMPORTANT BENEFITS OF STRETCHING:
- Decreases muscle tension, anxiety, stress and fatigue;
- Lengthens tight muscles that tend to pull part of our body away from their intended positions; - It is especially important to keep your back muscles loose thereby keeping your spine in alignment which in turn will relieve back pain and improve posture;
- Increases flexibility and range of movement in the joints;
- Increases blood flow which brings nourishment to the muscles.
For many of our Northern Virginia neighbors, a typical work day involves sitting in an office chair working in front of the computer. This ultimately leads to poor posture and lower back pain due to tight hip flexors and shortened hamstrings. Sitting at the desk also can lead to one feeling lethargic mid-afternoon which can lead to muscles tightening. But there is hope to save your back, restore muscle flexibility and combat your midday fatigue. Try these simple office chair stretches to combat your midday fatigue:
- Wrist stretches: Sit upright in your chair. Lift one arm and stretch it out in front of you with your palm facing upward. Gently grab your fingers with the opposite hand. Slowly pull the hand of your extended arm down. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 – 10 times. Switch hands.
- Shoulder stretches: Lift your right arm and reach behind your head. Place your hand on your upper back, making certain your arm is as close to your ear as possible. Use your left hand to gently hold your right elbow while pushing it towards the back of your head. Hold for 15 seconds. Switch arms. Repeat 3 – 5 times per arm.
- Spine twist: While sitting upright in your chair, place your left arm behind your left hip. Hold on to your chair with your right arm. Keep your feet flat on the ground and slowly turn to your left. Hold for ten seconds. Switch sides. Repeat 5 times per side.
- Get out of your chair: Take time each hour to stand up and walk a few minutes.
Everyone can learn how to stretch, regardless of age or current flexibility and it should be a part of your routine whether you exercise or not. It does not require a huge commitment of time but stretching can end up providing you with huge results. Make this spring the time you add stretching to your daily routine … your body will thank you.
Chiron Physical Therapy. . .committed to making people feel better.