Although there are so many reasons we feel stress and tension throughout our body, helping to relieve it can be solved by 5 minute stretching breaks throughout your work day. Stretching is important because it helps to reduce the tension we feel in the muscle by increasing the length and even stimulating blood flow. As a result of this, a reduction in general muscle
tension is achieved and our normal range of movement is increased. The benefits
of improving range of movement for your muscles include: increased comfort; a greater ability
to move freely; and a lessening of our susceptibility to muscle and tendon
strain injuries. By building a habit of taking 5 minute stretching breaks at work you can improve posture; develop body awareness; improve co-ordination; promote
circulation; increase energy; and improve relaxation and stress relief.
The lower body also gets tight from sitting too much, especially
the front of the hips. When you sit, the glutes stretch while the hip flexors
get tighter. Stretching this area several times a day can help reduce that
tightness. While standing, take the right leg back as though you’re going to do
a lunge. Squeeze the glutes as you bend the knees, lowering down until you feel
a stretch in the front of the right hip. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on
the other side.
This not-very-ladylike stretch feels great on the inner thighs,
hips and groin and is another hip-opening move that may help get rid of tension
and stress in the lower body. While
seated, take the legs wide, toes out and lean forward with the elbows on the
thighs. Keep the back straight and the abs contracted. Gently press forward
while using the elbows to push the thighs out until you feel a stretch in the
inner thighs. Hold for 10-30 seconds.
This move helps open up the hips and stretch the complex series of
muscles in the hips and glutes. While
seated, cross the right ankle over the left knee and sit up nice and tall.
Gently lean forward, keeping the back straight and reaching out with the torso
until you feel a stretch in the right glute and hip. You can also press down on
the right knee to deepen the stretch. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the
The upper back can also become tense and tight from hunched
shoulders, especially if you hold the phone against your shoulder or use your
mouse a lot. The shoulder rolls above may help loosen you up for this upper
right: Seated or standing, stretch the arms
straight out and rotate the hands so that the palms face away from each other.
Cross the arms so that the palms are pressed together, contract the abs and
round the back, reaching away as you relax the head. Don’t collapse but instead
imagine you’re curving up and over an imaginary ball. Hold the stretch for
10-30 seconds. If twisting the arms doesn’t feel good, simply lace the fingers
Sitting for prolonged periods of time can also affect the lower
back, leaving it tight and achy. This stretch will help gently work out some of
that tension. In a seated position
with the feet flat on the floor, contract the abs and gently twist the torso
towards the right, using your hands to help deepen the stretch. Only twist as
far as you comfortably can and keep the back straight while keeping the hips
square. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Arm and Shoulder
hands away from your body to stretch your arms and shoulders. Lace your fingers together and turn
your palms facing out. Straighten
your arms in front of you. Hold for 15 seconds.
stretches the muscles of your chest, upper back and the back of your neck. Lace your fingers together behind your
head, bringing your elbows back as far as possible. Inhale deeply and lean back until you
feel your muscles stretching. Hold for 20 seconds.
It may look
like you’re scratching your back, but you’re really stretching the back of your
arm. Reach behind your head and
place your hand on your upper back, keeping your arm close to your ear. Gently hold your elbow with your
opposite hand. Pull your elbow
toward the back of your head and reach your hand toward the middle of your back
until you feel a gentle stretch. Hold for 15 seconds.
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