To say that working from home is more popular now than ever is a bit of an understatement. According to Netskope, a cloud securities company providing services for Fortune 100 companies, 58% of American knowledge workers are working from home as of mid-March. Up 30% from the end of 2019, this rapid change poses several health challenges as lock downs push us towards an increasingly sedentary lifestyle.
The health benefits we received from going to work everyday, both physical and mental, have all but disappeared. Most of us wake up and go right to our desks, locking ourselves in for an eight hour work day having only moved five feet. All this inactivity can lead to serious health problems including obesity, heart disease, stroke, and depression; but with some small routine changes we can fight these.
If you are not the type that is enticed by a 60 minute morning cardio session, we understand. Building the motivation to perform serious exercising can be tough with all the household distractions. It’s important however to complete some kind of physical routine, and stretching can be a quick, easy way to unlock serious health benefits.
Stretching has many benefits when complemented with physical activity, such as a decreased recovery time, improved muscle gain, and an increased range of motion, but similarly there are benefits from also incorporating it into our more current, sedentary lifestyles. Stretching regularly helps improve posture, increase blood flow, calm your mind, and decrease tension headaches!
To take advantage of these amazing benefits you have to incorporate stretching into your daily routine. If you are excited and want to get started, here are 5 great stretches that are quick, easy, and perfect for working from home!
Chin retractions are a great exercise for reducing neck pain, and maintaining good posture. Having your head sit far in front of your chest for prolonged periods of time puts stress on the cervical spine and is very common when looking at a screen all day. This stretch helps to align your neck and head in line with your body, and performing it is easy.
To perform chin retractions:
Step 1 : Start by sitting up straight with your head level to the floor.
Step 2 : Pull your chin back towards your neck while keeping your head level to the floor. Hold for 2-3 seconds and then return to the starting position
Repeat this exercise 3 times a day to help improve posture and blood flow.
This stretch is a little more complicated than chin retractions, but still an easy one to perform. Seated hip stretches target your glutes, upper hamstrings, and hip flexors, and are great for improving blood flow to your legs and feet.
To Seated Hip Stretches:
Step 1 : Start by sitting up straight and place your right ankle on top of your left knee.
Step 2 : Using your left hand to stabilize your leg and keeping your back straight, slowly begin to lean forward until you feel a good stretch in your glutes and upper hamstrings. Hold this position for 30 seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat 3 times each side.
Repeat this exercise 3 times a day with both legs to help improve blood flow to the legs and reduce muscle soreness.
Working at a computer all day can lead to slouching and have you looking like Quasimodo from Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Performing this upper back stretch regularly will help keep your back straight and maintain great posture.
To Seated Upper Back Stretches:
Step 1 : Start by sitting up straight interlacing your fingers behind your head. Keep your elbows in-line with your head.
Step 2 : With your fingers interlaced and your elbows and head in-line, slowly arch back over the back of the chair until you feel stretching in your upper back. Hold this stretch for 3-4 seconds and then return to the starting position.
Repeat this exercise 3 times a day to help maintain good back posture while seated throughout the day.
Love carpal tunnel syndrome? Neither do we. Typing at a keyboard all day can lead to serious wrist pain and muscle cramping. Stretching the wrist and lower forearm regularly can help keep you typing quickly and off the surgery table.
To Wrist Stretches:
Step 1 : Start by sitting up straight and grabbing your right 4 index fingers with your left hand.
Step 2 : Keeping a good grasp on your right fingers, extend both arms out and pull slightly back with your left hand until you feel stretching in the wrist. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and slowly return to the starting position.
Repeat this exercise 3 times a day to help maintain good blood flow to the wrist and fingers, and help relax the muscles in your forearm. Remember to do this exercise on both wrists mirroring the stretch for the left side as well.
This final stretch is not so much a stretch as it is a reminder to do a poster check at least once every hour. Setting a timer to go off that reminds you to check your posture is a great way to stay on top of keeping a good frame.
During a posture check, take a moment to feel how the various parts of your body are doing. Are your legs tight? Is your back hunched? Are your eyes hurting? Doing a posture check brings your mind back to your body and listening to what it’s trying to tell you. If you find areas of your body are tight, perform some of the stretches listed above to help relieve some tension.
As with everything related to the body, consistency is key. Performing these stretches once in a blue moon will not be as beneficial as with regular practice.
Try incorporating these stretches both at home and at work to feel better all day long!
The founder of InstaCare Physical Therapy, Dr. Dan Luczka is dedicated to the wellness of each and every person who walks through the door. Dr. Dan opened this center with the goal of helping health conscious individuals live their most active and fit life without the need for pills, injections or surgery. When Dr. Dan isn't using his magic touch to keep people as active and healthy as they can, he's attending classes and conferences to implement the most innovative practices and technologies to address his patients' needs.
All information on this website is intended for instruction and informational purposes only. The authors are not responsible for any harm or injury that may result. Significant injury risk is possible if you do not follow due diligence and seek suitable professional advice about your injury. No guarantees of specific results are expressly made or implied on this website.
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