When working from home, it is important to nourish your body with movement. Especially when isolating, we may neglect our body’s regular movement outdoors or otherwise. While setting healthy habits, it is important to not overlook or neglect the movement of our body. In this blog post, you will discover self-care practices for movement and stretching from home. All practices listed in this post are not medical advice, please consult with your doctor or physiotherapist to determine your muscle strength and to tailor a stretching program to your body and needs.
To commit to bringing on a new self-care practice, you must consider how you can incorporate the new practice into your everyday life. It could be as simple as stretching in the mornings after rising from bed, or setting aside 5-10 minute periods on the hour to do a deep stretch. Consider your daily routines and how you can best incorporate and stick with routine movement practices. In our suggested stretches, we provide natural times you can incorporate these practices into your regular routine to help you stretch regularly.
Chest Opener Stretching on Pillow, Exercise Ball or Foam Roller
With your head supported, lay on your back across a lengthwise pillow, exercise ball, or foam roller. With your palms facing the ceiling, spread your arms apart until a stretch is felt through the front of the chest and across the shoulders. Gently tipping the chest backwards with also increase a sensation of stretch vertically across the neck.
Do this stretch for 5 minutes or longer, continuously.
This stretch will counteract a days-worth of sitting at a desk , including the forward head posture and tight front of the body that this typically promotes.
How to incorporate this stretch into your daily routine: End of your ‘shift’, or beginning of lunch break
Postural Break Shake Out
Stand up from your seat and reach to the sky for a few moments, out to the side, roll your head and neck, gently twist the trunk back and forth and march up and down/wiggle your legs for several seconds.
Do this stretch for 20-30 seconds, every 30 minutes to 1 hour.
This stretch temporarily changes blood flow and nerve conduction to break out of habitual sitting postures and helps you avoid strain patterns.
How to incorporate this stretch into your daily routine: When you’re grabbing a glass of water, coffee, or going to the bathroom.
Anterior/Posterior Pelvic Tilts
While sitting on your office chair or on an exercise ball, alternate tilting your pelvis forward and arching your back, and then tilting your pelvis back while allowing your spine to curl/slouch.
Do 5-10 repetitions, every 30 minutes to 1 hour.
This stretch helps those suffering from low back stiffness/tension from prolonged sitting, this will temporarily change blood flow and nerve conduction, improve your postural endurance as you go back to working afterwards and prevent low back/hip flexor muscle spasming from lack of movement.
How to incorporate this stretch into your daily routine: Before and alongside the postural break shake out.
Exercise Ball Bouncing:
While sitting on an exercise ball (or standing with open space around you), generate a gentle bouncing motion (With or without music to unwind to). Allow yourself to bounce at whatever pace feels natural for your size and height and to gently scan for tension in your body. Let go of any bracing you feel in your body as you gently bounce and feel free to add directionality (forward/backward, side-to-side, clockwise/counterclockwise) if it feels right.
Do this 5 minutes longer or continuously.
The oscillation (Rebounding/Jiggling) from this stretch initiates a fluid wave in the body that when gently manipulated by increasing or decreasing the amplitude of the motion, tricks the nervous system into letting go of subconscious bracing patterns and rehydrates the ground substance helping to ease pressure from connective tissue restriction.
How to incorporate this stretch into your daily routine: End of your work day or a during a coffee break
We all slouch too much especially as our postural endurance weakens or we are visually straining on our computer screens.
To complete this stretch, you will perform 3 gentle postural corrections completed with no more than 5-10 percent effort. While maintaining your visual gaze straight ahead, SLIGHTLY nod the head down and pull the head back so the ears are in line with the shoulders when sitting upright. With the shoulders, imagine the collar bones rolling back like revving the engine of a motorcycle or the opening of your wings (This IS NOT a shoulder raising motion or pinching the shoulder blades together). Lift the chest up slightly like the front of your chest has a headlight on it that you want to be pointing straight ahead.
Hold the position for the duration of the movement if you are performing an action with your shoulders, or for 20-30 seconds if just correcting your sitting posture at your desk. Longer than this and you may find you begin to feel a bit sore.
How to incorporate this stretch into your daily routine: Whenever you catch yourself slouching, whenever you remember to refocus, any time you go to reach or lift an object or picking up your kids, or during shoulder exercise.
Through these stretches and exercises, you will be able to ease tension and pain that may arise through your working day. If you are interested in having a tailored stretching and exercise program, we now offer virtual sessions to remotely pair you with one of our registered physiotherapists. We also encourage you to join our community on Facebook (Fascial Freedom) to view our available content, community posts, and location updates.
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About Myofascial Release Mississauga:
Myofascial Release Mississauga is a Mississauga-based clinic and a provider of Myofascial Release physiotherapy treatments. As well, we provide workshops and classes virtually and in-studio for Pilates, Yin Yoga, Meditation, and more. If you are interested in booking a treatment, please use the link below.