We’ve all experienced it. We do an everyday activity and all of a sudden—boom—we feel a stiffness or pain. It usually comes from lack of movement. We live and work in a very sedentary environment. Most of us have a schedule like this: arrive at work by 8 a.m., plop down at desk, get up around 10:00 a.m. for a quick coffee break, then sit back down again until 12:30 p.m. and get up for lunch. Outside of an occasional meeting or break, most people don’t move until 6:00 p.m. What’s wrong with this picture?
Our bodies were designed to move, not to stay in one position for hours on end. Exercise is a healthy habit that should be part of each day. When we don’t move, our flexibility wanes and our bodies react with stiffness and pain. Corrective exercise and a variety of stretches can help loosen up these muscles and bring your flexibility back to where it should be.
If you have yet to make exercise a part of your daily routine, start small: make it a point to take several breaks during the day to get up and stretch. Do it at your desk, take a walk or go up and down a few flights of stairs. Here are some stretches to do every day in order to keep your body limber and working properly. The trick is to make the commitment to do them frequently and ongoing – from there, build up to adding more cardio and strength training exercises to your routine.
Place your right arm shoulder height, palm forward at a 90 degree angle with the inside of your elbow touching the wall. Your right foot should be facing forward. Turn your chest to the left. Hold the contraction for 30 seconds before switching sides. Do 1-2 sets on each side.
Get down on your hands and knees. Extened your right arm on a foam roller or stability ball. Your chest should be off the ground and your other arm off to the side. Hold the contraction for 30 seconds before switching sides. Do 1-2 sets on each side.
Stand up tall and place your arms behind your back with your hands resting on top of each other. From this position, push your elbows forward and feel the stretch in the back of your shoulders. Hold this position for 30 seconds before switching sides.
How have you created healthy habits by incorporating exercise into your routine?