Aside from the sheer lack of activity, we often sit in positions that put stress on our bones, joints and muscles, such as hunching over our desks or leaning on our elbows. Eliminating stiffness throughout the day will not only make us feel better, but maintaining flexibility is also important to our health. The more agile we are as we age, the less likely we are to suffer injuries such as falls, strains and chronic pain.
Dr. Ben’s Simple Rule of Thumb: 20 Seconds Every 20 Minutes
Adding any kind of movement every twenty minutes or so (even for only twenty seconds), gets you moving and changing your posture helps relieve pressure and tension. Adding in a few minutes of stretching offers greater benefits too. The best part of stretching is how great it makes you feel with so little effort. Periodically practicing some simple stretches can ease muscle pain, release tension, prevent stiffness, and boost your energy and alertness and the best part is you can do it all at your desk!
Set a reminder on your phone or laptop to prompt you to stretch periodically. Remember to always stretch slowly and calmly, never vigorously. Here are four really simple but effective stretches:
- Shoulder Shrugs: Inhale deeply and slowly shrug your shoulders, lifting them up to your ears. Hold for 3 seconds, then release and slowly drop your shoulders while you exhale.
Repeat this three times.
- Loosen your hands and wrists: Clench both fists and stretch hand out in front of you. Circle at your wrists in one direction for a count of ten, and then reverse for another count. Then give them a good shaking out. Try this, it feels great!
- Upper Back Stretch: This great stretch works on the neck and upper back muscles. Stretch your arms out in front of you and rotate your hands until your palms face away from each other. You can put both of the back of your hand together or you can put your palms together, whichever is most comfortable. Then, bend over at the upper back like you are diving off the diving board. Be sure and flex your head (chin to chest) at the same time!
- Chest stretch: This is great for opening up your chest. While sitting upright in your chair, hold your arms up at right angles in a “surrender” position. Gently press your elbows back until you feel a slight stretch across your chest. With your elbows back, slowly raise and lower your arms, feeling a stretch in the front of your chest and shoulders. Repeat 6 to 10 times.
If you’d like Dr Ben to show you how to do these stretches, just ask next time you’re in! If you need to make an appointment, call Mary on 021 487 84 65.