Have you felt like a robot with a stiff body and strange pains after a whole morning in front of the computer? Me too.
Our lifestyle is so sedentary that moving requires conscious discipline, although that is what our body was designed to do. We invite you to regain flexibility by stretching for 20 minutes every two hours throughout the day so that your body does not end up mimicking the chair.
Stretching keeps your muscles flexible, strong, and healthy. It’s not just for athletes, we all need the range of motion of our joints, keep our balance, and decrease the risk of injury. Stretching gives you more flexibility for daily life, improves circulation, aligns posture and prevents pain.
Before stretching, read these tips to do it safely and effectively.
Although you can stretch anytime, anywhere, good technique is essential because doing it wrong can do more harm than good.
Look for symmetry, instead of comparing your flexibility with that of a gymnast, focus on stretching both sides of your body equally. What you stretch on your right side, do with your left side as well.
Benefit your mental health. As you stretch, take a deep breath and relax your mind, we all deserve these minutes of rest every two hours throughout the day. Stress contracts the muscles, giving the feeling of general discomfort. When you have that feeling, stretch to release the tension. Stretching also releases endorphins, a natural substance in the body that leads to a feeling of joy and serenity.
Don’t bounce, stretches are a smooth, continuous movement. Bouncing when you stretch can injure you and result in stiff muscles. Hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, taking deep breaths. It’s normal for you to feel tension when stretching, but not pain. If it hurts, you have stretched too far, return to where you stretch without pain.
These a few exercises we suggest, add or subtract according to your preferences:
- Shoulder stretch: Raise one elbow above your head with your arm bent. Press down on your elbow with your opposite hand to pull it toward your head. Enjoy how it stretches and relaxes your entire upper arm. Hold this pose for 10 seconds, return to the starting position, and repeat the process with the other arm.
- Wrist extension: Stretch one arm in front of you with the fingers pointing up. With your other hand, pull your fingers toward your chest. Hold for 10 seconds and then switch sides. Enjoy how your hand and forearm rest.
- Neck stretch: Sit with your feet touching the ground and aligned with your shoulders. Slowly turn your head to look over your shoulder, keeping your back on the chair and your shoulders forward. Hold the position for 10 seconds and repeat the movement on the other side. Enjoy how the tension melts away.
- Torso stretch: Sit with your feet touching the ground and aligned with your shoulders. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows out. Lean your torso to the side by bending from the waist. Hold that pose for 5 seconds. Return to the starting position, and then do it on the other side. Enjoy how your waist lengthens and relaxes.
- Hamstring stretch: An excellent stretch for the tendons behind the knees is very easy if you have two chairs. Place them facing each other. Sit in a chair, extend one leg, resting the heel on the other chair. Lean your torso forward, trying to touch your toes, until you feel your tendons stretch. Hold this pose for 10 seconds and then switch legs.
Give your body 20 minutes of gentle stretching every two hours to restore well-being. Shake off stress and change the channel of negative thoughts. Stretch with deep breaths, enjoy oxygenating your mind and body because sustainability begins with oneself.