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September 16, 2020

4 Quick Stretches for the Overworked Body & Mind.

 

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As busy humans, our day-to-day is full of constant activity.

The house needs to be cleaned, pets and children need to be taken care of, the phone is off the hook at work, and by the time we actually have a moment to glance at the clock, it’s been hours since we’ve last taken a break.

This daily schedule can be excellent for helping the workweek fly by, but it’s not so great for our bodies. Carpal tunnel, neck pain, and tense shoulders are just a few of the ailments that can be experienced when sitting at a desk or repeating the same motions each day.

According to Harvard Health, stretching is an important factor in maintaining proper muscle health and strength, which then protects our joints. Not only is this practice important for our overall physical health, but it is extremely beneficial for mental health as well!

Simply taking a few moments a day to step away from tasks and give our bodies a moment to stretch out and breathe is a practice that can be key to having a successful day. Here are just a few of the many benefits that stretching can provide:

>> Increased flexibility 

>> Better range of motion 

>> Improved physical performance 

>> Increased blood flow 

>> Correct posture 

>> Prevent and soothe back pain 

>> Stress relief 

>> Calming for the mind 

>> Decrease tension headaches

Quick and easy stretches to try at work:

Whether you want to do a full stretching routine or just a couple of twists to work out the kinks, these moves are excellent in encouraging blood flow and waking up the body after a long sitting or standing period.

1. Side Stretch

An invigorating move that is easy to do, whether you’re standing up or sitting in a chair. Giving your sides a good stretch is an excellent way to get the blood pumping.

Simply reach one hand over your head, extending the arm in an arc. Hold for a few moments, then repeat on the other side.

2. Shoulder Rolls

This stretch can be done with or without an aid. It’s a great way to loosen up the knots that can easily build up in our neck and shoulders.

If using a ball or foam roller, place it between your shoulders and use the wall to create pressure against your muscles gently. Move back and forth to work out any soreness and discomfort.

Shoulder rolls can also be done simply by shrugging the shoulders up to the ears, rounding them back, and then rolling them down in a repeated motion. This exercise feels wonderful and does a great job of helping to loosen up knots and get the blood moving after sitting.

3. Neck Stretch

Similar to the side stretch, this move is all about getting those pesky kinks out of your neck. It’s important to be gentle while doing this stretch to avoid creating any injury.

Place your left hand on the right side of your head and while carefully relaxing your right shoulder to the floor, tilt your head gently to the left using your hand to add a bit of pressure. Hold for a few moments before repeating on the other side.

4. Wrist stretches

Both of these wrist stretches are quick and easy to do at your desk:

>> Praying Hands

For a low-key stretch, try praying hands. Place your hands together, angle your elbows out slightly, and (while pressing your palms together) push your arms toward the ground. The amount of push will vary per person, but regardless of how much pressure is used, there is no doubt that this stretch is wonderful for your arms!

>> Extended Arm

This popular stretch is a great option to get your wrists, forearms, and shoulders sighing with relief. Just lock your fingers together, turn your palms outward, and stretch forward. Do this move as often as you’d like to get the blood flowing in the arms and cobwebs cleaned out of the joints—your body will thank you!

The Take-Away

Some days are going to be busier than others, but don’t forget to gift yourself a little bit of time and care!

Whether you want to do all of these stretches or just one, your body will thank you for the break and attention.

“Taking care of ourselves is an important part of taking care of others. The healthier the tree, the better the fruit it can offer.” ~ Unknown

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