Stretching is like drinking water. No one needs to tell us that it’s good for us — it’s just so gosh darn boring that sometimes we forget! That said, while working from home and managing a home-centric schedule, we’ve learned that the little things add up. Small, healthy habits shape our mood and sense of well-being from hour to hour.
Below is a stretching routine designed by a biomechanics sports therapist for those of us working from home. The series of gentle exercises is designed to combat the negative side effects of increased sitting and screen time:
– necks straining to lean towards screens
– backs losing their natural curve due to sitting posture
– tight chest muscles from arm keyboard positions
– shortened hip flexors from legs being bent for a prolonged time
The routine caught our attention for a strange reason: the first stretch is incredibly simple — and incredibly unflattering. We may not have the guts to use this therapy in a more social office environment, so we’re taking advantage of our private office digs to get that double chin-inducing, yet super-satisfying stretch in.
A Stretching Routine for WFH
Hoke suggests doing the below stretches once for every three hours of sitting, holding the correct position for 15 seconds and repeating each stretch 3-5 times
For the Neck: Stand up and look straight ahead. Keeping this posture, pull your chin back so that your head is more directly over the spine. You can put two fingertips on your chin and gently press your chin and head backward. Do not look up or down as you do this exercise.
For the Chest: Stand in a doorway and place your hands and forearms on the doorframe with your elbows just below shoulder level. Slowly lean your body forward through the door frame until you feel a light stretch across your chest. You can do this again with your arms lower and your hands at waist level
For the Arms: Stand behind a chair or the edge of a counter or table. Extend your arms out straight with your palms up and put your palms on the chair or table edge. Slowly lean your body forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your arms.
For the Lower Back: Stand and place your hands on your tailbone at the base of your spine. Gently press forward with your hands as you lean backward. You should feel light pressure in the small of your back.
For the Hips: For this stretch, you will go into a half-kneeling position with the knee of the leg that you plan to stretch resting comfortably on a small pillow. Your other leg will be in front and you will keep an upright posture as you do this stretch. Gently bend the forward leg and let your body move forward over the leg resting on the pillow. Do not lean forward at the waist. You should feel a light stretch in the front of your hip.
For the Hamstrings: A simple way to stretch the hamstrings is to place one foot on a chair or stool while standing on one leg maintaining a good upright posture. You can do this touching a wall or table to keep your balance while on one leg. Stick your chest out and lean forward, hinging at your hip. Be careful not to bend forward in your lower spine.
For the Calf Muscles: Stand facing a wall approximately two to three feet away. Stand so that your feet are facing straight ahead. Now gently shift your weight to the outer part of both feet which will lift your arches up. While maintaining this corrected foot posture lean forward and place your forearms on the wall. It is very important to avoid letting your arches fall when you are stretching your calf muscle.