Working from home or already back in the office? Either way, you are probably tethered to your desk, waiting for your next online meeting.
Has anyone else noticed that now that we are all online with each other, meetings are scheduled one on top of the other? I mean, jeez, not even a break to run to the bathroom. Am I right?
Seven or eight months ago (frankly, I am losing count), we were ordered to work remotely, and this meant for many people working from home. And let’s face it, the ergonomics at the dining room table just aren’t cutting it.
At the time, it meant newfound opportunities to take a walk at lunchtime, exercise right before or after work, or take multiple breaks throughout the day to move around and stretch, due to a change in our daily routines and having extra time (due to no commuting time).
And we really took advantage of it to carve out some new habits. I saw many people walking, running, and biking together in my neighborhood. How about yours?
Not so much now though. The numbers have definitely dwindled. And that includes me. I was walking fairly regularly at lunchtime and right after work. Now that the meetings are piling up throughout the day, and it is getting dark immediately at 5pm, my healthy new habits have been reduced. And a certain ennui has been setting in with this new “normal”.
And I am feeling it. How about you? I went for a 3 mile walk the other day and I really felt it. I think because my ass had been glued to a chair in front of a screen the rest of the week. Right now, my hip hurts just thinking about it.
The truth is when our muscles are relegated to staying in one position for hours at a time, it does hurt when we try to do something different. But try we must!
In the meantime, for immediate relief, here are three stretches that will help you relieve some tension, decompress and ease the stress of sitting in one position almost all day.
The first one is:
The Hip Release
Sitting causes tight hip flexors and lower back pain, not to mention weak glutes. This one is easy and doesn’t require any equipment.
Get on your knees and take a big step with one leg out in front of you, foot flat on the floor and knee directly above your ankle. Square your hips and push them slightly forward, breathing into the stretch for a good 15 seconds and then switch sides. Do this at least 3 times on each side and you will feel such a nice release.
The second one is:
The Figure Four
Have you ever felt your butt just feels sore from all that sitting? If so, this one is for you as it opens the hips, targets the glutes, hamstrings and the IT band too.
Lay on the floor (yes!) flat on your back, with your legs in the air. Now cross one leg in front of the other with your ankle resting on your thigh right by the knee. Bend the leg that is still straight in the air to a 90 degree angle and clasp your hands around the thigh of that leg, threading your one arm between your legs. Flex your feet and gently push out the bent knee of the crossed leg (one closest to your torso) to really feel a stretch in your lower back and IT band. Hold for 20 seconds breathing deeply into this one, and then switch sides. Do this one at least 3 times on each side too. Aaah!
The third and final one is:
The Chest Opener
This is for anyone who is hunched over a keyboard (or steering wheel) to relieve pain in the shoulder blades, back tightness, and bad posture. You can do this at your desk or on the floor, whichever is easier for you.
Get on the floor, again on your knees, and interlace your fingers with the palms facing your back. Shoulders down, lift your arms up until you feel the stretch. Lean your upper body back to increase the stretch and hold for 20 seconds, breathing deeply, and do this at least three times.
Or at the desk, just sit with your feet flat on the ground, interlace your fingers behind you and lean back until you feel a good stretch.
Between all 3 exercises and the length of time to do them, I figure you need just under six minutes. I guarantee they will be the sweetest six minutes of your day.
Best in health,