9 Stretches You Can’t Live Without
Stretching and Home Care Tips:
Let’s face it: our modern lifestyle is HORRIBLE at meeting our bodies needs. We sit too much. We look down too much. We have our arms and shoulders in front of us too much. Our modern tech heavy lifestyle is wreaking HAVOC on us physically.
Most back, neck, and shoulder pain can be directly connected to these bad postures, or not enough physical activity. Check out these easy stretches and exercises to help combat the stress our modern, tech heavy lives put on our back and neck.
Most activities we engage in these days tends to pull our neck and shoulders forward, in front of our chest and torso. This is referred to an anterior head and shoulder carriage.
Look at the position of his head while he’s on the computer. →
A simple and effective way to help with this is to place something like a rolled up towel or foam roller under the neck and lay back on it. The pressure from it will help push the neck back into its proper curve.
Another highly effective stretch is what’s referred to as an isometric stretch. This means a part of the body is stretched, then the muscles are contracted. There is no motion (the meaning of isometric) but while the muscles tense up in a static position, the tension is released.
In this example, bend the neck towards the shoulder slightly. With the hand on that side, grab the opposite side of the head and apply slight pressure. Push against the hand using the neck muscles with an equal force, so that the neck doesn’t move. Don’t pull with your arm.
Hold for 15-20 seconds then repeat on the other side.
Another good way is to place a hand on the back of your head and pull forwards slightly. Then push with the neck muscle to try and straighten the head back out.
Hold for 15-20 seconds.
And one of my favorites, to stretch the front of the shoulders, stand in a doorway with your forearm on the door frame. Make sure your elbow and shoulder are both at 90 degrees. Step slowly through the doorway and feel the stretch in the front of the shoulder and chest.
Hold for 15-20 seconds then repeat on other side.
For a little bonus, once your shoulder and chest are at tension, slowly tilt your head backwards and away from arm. Feel the stretch going through the side of the neck and under the collarbone.
Most of us will experience low back pain at some point in our life . It is the most common side effect of too much sitting. Tight hamstrings and weak glut muscles are are pretty much always happening with low back pain. I’ve found most people get a ton of relief when stretching these major muscle groups in the lower body: Hamstrings, Gluts/Piriformis, Lower Back, Flexors/Psoas.
There are a bunch of different ways to stretch the hamstrings, the most common being bending forward to touch your toes while keeping your knees straight. You can also place a foot up on something like a bench and lean forward. You can do yoga poses like downward facing dog, or forward fold. There are a lot of ways to loosen those muscles up.
Be sure to hold for about 15-20 seconds and repeat 3 times per side.
While lying on your back, cross one leg over the other. Pull the opposite knee towards your chest until you feel the tension in the gluts. Hold 15-20 seconds, repeat 3 times on each leg.
*Note* If this position hurts your knees you can try this stretch while seated.
Two of my favorite low back stretches are Cat/Cow and Child’s Pose
Starting on your hands and knees, arch your lower back and look straight ahead. Take a big breath in while doing this. While breathing out, round your back and push your tailbone up towards the sky while tucking your chin to your chest.
Repeat 10 times.
From the hands and knees position, sit back onto your heels. Stretch your finger tips out as far in front of you as they can go. Breathe deep and slow while feeling the stretch throughout the entire spine.
Hold for 10 seconds, repeat three times
The hip flexors, like the Psoas muscles, are located deep in the abdomen and pelvis, and can be hard to get to. Others, like the quadriceps, are on the surface and a little easier to access. A great way to stretch these muscles is the lunge. Kneel with one foot out in front of you, knee bent at a 90 degree angle. Slowly bend the front knee so you move forwards. Try rocking your hips into the stretch, or side to side in order to isolate the muscles that are particularly tight.
Hold for 15-20 seconds and repeat 3 times per side.
There are a TON of other stretches and exercises that can help (like in this video), but these will give you a huge head start in getting the relief you desire. Remember, do these every day, three times a day for the best results. Progress doesn’t happen overnight!
You can always schedule a time to come in for an in person demonstration at no charge. Call or email anytime!