Don’t stress, just stretch
We know not everyone is motivated to set a fixed time for exercising, though it’s highly recommended. However, sitting on the sofa or bed working for long hours makes our bodies tense! Constant aches and stiff muscles hinder your performance and have an overall impact on your health.
The way out? Stretching. Take a break every hour and give those muscles a good stretch. Here’s a list of stretches to combat some of the most common issues we face while WFH! Red flag: If a particular movement hurts you, stop immediately!
1. STIFF NECK
This is the most common issue for those glued to their laptops or smartphone screens. Bending over for long periods of time can strain your neck making it go stiff: It’s uncomfortable and painful. If left unchecked, you could end up getting spondylitis. We don’t want that now, do we?
GET STRETCHING: Gently lift your head and tilt it back while keeping your back and shoulders straight. Tilt your head backward as far as you can go, hold for five counts without hurting yourself. Gently return to the position you started with. Repeat the same, but now bending your head down. Again, hold for five counts and release. Next, bring your ear to your shoulders by bending your head right and left, by holding the stretch for five counts each. Do these head movements whenever you feel tension creeping up on the back and side of your neck.
2. SHOULDER AND ARM STRESS RELEASER
Our arms are endlessly typing away at our screens throughout the day. This tires not only the arms but also torso! Our upper body is at its maximum usage when we sit down for work. Stretch your arms whenever you get the chance.
GET STRETCHING: Raise your left arm over your head. Bend it from your elbow so has to have your left hand drop below your head, on your back. Take your right hand and place it on your left elbow slowly pushing the arm up and down. Repeat with the other hand. Do this stretch for 5 to 10 counts on each side.
3. STRAINED LOWER BACK
We are constantly reminded to sit up straight, but five minutes later here we are slouching again. All of this puts extreme pressure on our lower backs. It faces the brunt of our wrong postures, and releasing the tension around it gives us major relief.
GET STRETCHING: Stand with your right foot forward keeping two feet distance between them. Push your fists into your lower back while arching your backward to raise your chest towards the ceiling and thrusting the hip forward. Hold for five counts and repeat with the other leg forward.
4. TIGHT HIPS
Being a couch potato is the bane of our existence! Our hips are the connecting point to our torso and lower body. Long hours of being ideal can stiffen the hips to a point that it hurts to get up. NOTE: If you have chronic pain in your hips please consult a doctor.
GET STRETCHING: Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your left ankle on top of your right knee. Keeping your shoulders on the floor, lower your knees to the right. Hold the position for as long as you can. Come back to your original position. Switch legs and repeat.
5. LEG PAIN
It is not just the hips that face the brunt of long hours of being seated, it affects your legs as well. For this stretch, all you need is a chair and you do not even need to get up!
GET STRETCHING: While sitting on a chair, cross your right leg over the left, such as to rest your ankle on your thigh/knee. Bend sideways from the waist letting your hands and head hang on the side towards your left foot. Repeat with crossing your left leg over the right. Hold each position for 5 to 10 counts.
6. FULL BODY STRETCH OUT
If you have poor posture by slumping over the computer all day, you gotta get up and give that body a good long stretch. That feeling of elongation can release stress from your entire body making you feel active again.
GET STRETCHING: Stand straight with your feet touching each other. Raise your hands up from the side and have them above your head. Get up on your toes and as you do it, stretch your torso as if an invisible force is pulling you upwards. Hold for 10 secs. Place your feet flat on the ground, release your stretch and then bring your hands back down.
7. FINGER AND HAND STRETCHES
Hand and finger exercises are an excellent way of releasing pent-up tension. They will strengthen your hands and improve your range of motion. We use our fingers the most to type and scroll throughout the day. They need some rest and agility to prevent them from hurting.
GET STRETCHING: Make a fist with your fingers such that the thumb is wrapping the fingers. Squeeze and hold for 30 secs and release. Do it with both your hands at least four times.
Inculcate the habit of incorporating stretches or any form of body movement throughout the day. You can do these stretches and exercises anytime during the day, whenever you feel the need to let go. Your body will be so grateful, and so will you!
[All Images Credit: Shutterstock]