Working from home is the new normal at SnackConscious, as I’m sure many of you can relate. We’re figuring out what this means for our team but also our bodies.
Once we decided to work remotely, I started thinking about how this would affect us physically and energetically. As a Registered Yoga Teacher, I wanted to make sure we weren’t hurting our bodies since few of us have ergonomic home workstations.
I quickly drafted this ‘memo’ and set it to the team. I wanted to share it with you too :)
Hey team, as comfortable as it may seem to be in PJs on the couch while we work from home, you may end up sitting at your new ‘workstation’ all day without pause. It's important to remember to move your body, stretch your joints and muscles every hour to prevent cramps, aches and pain.
I recommend doing each of these 6 key stretches twice daily, rotating 1-2 stretches per hour, in addition to walking around your apartment or home for 2 minutes every hour.
1. FORWARD FOLD:
This stretch can help unwind, increase blood flow and open up the lower back and hamstrings. Stand with a slight bend in the knees, begin to hinge forward at the hips, pause for a moment with hands on the thighs, bend the knees as much as necessary as you continue to fold forward while maintaining a long spine. Hands can rest on a chair, the couch or on the floor if it is available. Hold for 30-45 seconds.
2. WRIST AND FOREARM RELEASE:
Wrist and forearm tendons and ligaments tighten up in our day to day as we type on keyboards and text on our phones and tablets. Extend one arm with the palm facing up, then gently pull fingers down and back with your other hand. Switch hands and repeat.
3. SIDE STRETCH:
The QL (quadratus lumborum, located on either side of the ribs on your lower back side) tightens from sitting for long periods of time and is one of the main causes for low back pain when it is unhappy. Stretch both arms straight out in front of you and interlace fingers, then turn your hands so the palms are facing outward. Raise arms over your head, gently, and stretch to one side hold for 15-20 seconds, and to the other side for the same amount of time. Keep the rib cage pulled in and core contained to protect the lower back.
4. STANDING QUADRICEPS AND HIP FLEXOR STRETCH:
Sitting for prolonged periods of time also puts the quadriceps in near-constant contraction which increases chronic muscle tension in the posterior chain. Stand on one leg, one knee touching the other. You can hold a chair or the wall to keep steady if needed. Kick the heel of the other leg towards your glutes and use both palms to hold the foot. The focus should be on pushing hips forward to feel the length across the top of the thigh. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then repeat on the other leg.
5. FIGURE FOUR GLUTE STRETCH:
The figure four glute stretch is another great form of static stretching to alleviate tension in the glute muscles from sitting all day. You can do this in a lying position on the back, keep the head relaxed, starting with both soles of the feet on the ground. Bring one knee into the chest, externally rotate the left from the hip and cross the ankle over the opposite thigh creating a figure-four position. Make sure to keep the foot active in flexion and actively guide the knee away from the center of the body. Hold for 30-45 seconds and repeat on the other side.
6. NECK AND SHOULDER RELEASE:
A stiff neck and tight shoulders are very well known issues for many of us. This pain is most often caused by stress, bad sitting habits, or lack of physical activity. Begin by sitting comfortably on the floor or in a chair, place one hand on the top of your head and gently pull it towards the shoulder on that same side. Keep the back straight and shoulders relaxed. Hold for 30-45 seconds and then slowly lift your head back to a neutral position and repeat on the other side.
It may sound excessive, but doing these key stretches twice daily (and making sure you're walking for two minutes every hour) can make a huge difference in the way your body feels today and long term.
Questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us on Instagram @snackconscious