Adding a stretching routine to your day can alleviate strain and stress—and bigger problems down the road.
Upper Back and Shoulders
1. Lie on your belly with your hands by your shoulders. Gently glide your shoulder blades together and then start to lift your neck and upper back a couple of inches off of the ground. Lower down and repeat.
2. Sit on the ground, or a chair, interlace your hands behind the back holding the opened position for a few breaths. Couple this stretch with a Back Stretch Prep, which works the muscles between the shoulder blades and the upper back.
When days are spent with the shoulders rounded forward, the front of the shoulder gets strong and upper back muscles get weak. This causes discomfort between the shoulder blades and creates a rounded posture. Plewes suggests opening up the chest and shoulder area and strengthening the upper back:
4. Sitting on a chair reach your right arm down and tilt your head to the left side. Hold for three breaths. Repeat on the other side.
5. Seated: reach your arms out to the side and spin the whole arm down and up. Keeping the ﬁngers stretched and open during this move will also help to release strain in the hands that may eventually lead to Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.
6. Lie on your back and reach your arms over head. Circle the arms down, around and back up. Repeat and reverse your circles.
“Your spine is your well being,” says Plewes. Standing all day will cause problems through your spine and often results in lower back discomfort, so you want to move it as many different ways as possible.
7. Lie on your back, knees bent, feet ﬂat on the ground. Tuck your pelvis in towards you, roll your spine off the ground so your bum is lifted and you are resting on your shoulders. Pull your abdominals in towards your spine and roll back down trying to get each of your vertebrae to connect with the ground one at a time.
8. Lie on your back reaching your arms out to either side of your body. Bend knees in towards you and then let the knees fall to one side. This will also open up the tight chest muscles that result from rounding the shoulders forward all day. Repeat on the other side.
9. Massaging a tennis ball under each foot at the end of the day is also a nice relief (especially for those of you that wear heels). This will help you stand more evenly in the feet helping to realign the spine and relieve back pain.
10. Lunges are a great exercise to strengthen the gluteus, as well as stretch out hip ﬂexors, which can get tight from standing all day.