It’s important when in any static posture for any period of time, to move in and out of that posture for optimum musculoskeletal health. To all our patients out there who are working from home and perhaps aren’t sitting on the most ideal chair I’m here to show you some great stretches you can do. These are designed to help prevent you from stiffening up as well as keeping your body moving.
Don’t forget to allow yourself your one period to go outside for a walk, run, cycle, or even inline-skating – just remember at the moment you need to observe the 2m rule of social distancing. Take some deep breaths while you are out there!
“It’s important when in any static posture for any period of time, to move in and out of that posture for optimum musculoskeletal health”
Annabel Gatjen – Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist
Before you start, take a deep breath in, lift your shoulders and drop them down while breathing out.
- Neck Rotations – Look to the left and to the right as far as you comfortably can. Do this slowly and gently. No quick movements. Perform 5 times to each side.
- Side-bending for the neck – Move your head to the side, taking your ear to your shoulder, ensuring your shoulders stay relaxed and down the whole time. You should feel a stretch on the opposite side of your neck. Hold this stretch for 10-15 seconds and repeat to the other side. Perform 5 times to each side.
- Look down – stretch out the back of your neck – Slowly look down and move your chin down as far to your chest as possible. You should feel a stretch in the back of your neck. Hold for 10-15 seconds and repeat 5 times.
- Levator scapulae stretch – Or as I like to call it – The “smell your armpit stretch”
Bring your nose towards your armpit, using the hand from the same side. Your fingertips are at the end of your hairline and you should gently pull your head down towards your armpit.
Example: If you ‘smell’ your right armpit, you need to use your right hand and when pulling down you will feel a stretch on the opposite side of your neck. Here, on the left.
Hold for 15 sec. Perform 1-2 on each side, coming gently out of the stretch each time.
- Rotation of the upper spine – This one I really like because we don’t move our thoracic spine enough anymore in our daily lives. This will help with upper back stiffness after a long day at the desk.
Rotate your upper body to one side and use your hands to pull yourself a little bit more into that rotated position. Hold this stretch position for 5-10 seconds whilst breathing slowly, then rotate to the other side. 5 times each side.
- Upper Body Hang Downs – Sit with your knees slightly apart. Slowly bring your chin towards your chest and then roll your whole upper body slowly towards the floor between your knees. Fold forward as far as you comfortably can and when you get to the bottom, ensure your head is fully relaxed. Stay there for a couple of seconds and then slowly roll back up. Your head is the last bit to be released. Repeat these 5 times.
- Knees push outs – Or like some of my patients call it, the train. This will bring movement into your lower spine and the SI-Joint that can often become stiff after a long period of sitting. Do this 10-15 times in a slow rhythmic motion.
- Side-bending for lower back – Sit up straight, let your arms hang relaxed next to your body, and then slowly let your hand move towards the floor, reaching as far as you comfortably can. Come back up slowly and repeat the other side. Repeat 5 times each side.
- Piriformis Stretch – Place your right ankle on top of the left thigh, just above your knee. Push your right knee down with your hands and slowly lean forward with your upper body. You should feel a stretch in your right buttock. Breathe slowly in and out. With every breathe out lean into the stretch a little bit more. Hold at the end for 15 seconds.
Hopefully you’ll agree these are easy to do. Set yourself an alarm or put a lovely pink or yellow post it on your screen that reminds you to do these exercises at least every other hour.
These stretches are of course a general guide to improving and maintaining mobility. If you’re experiencing any significant pain and discomfort you should contact your physiotherapist or other health care practitioner for advice. You can also contact us here at Vanbrugh Physiotherapy for more information on how we can help.