Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thursday Thirteen # 12

As a part of my day job I work with people in my office to make sure their desks and chairs are setup properly. After talking with a few different people, I've come to realize that while we may be ergonomically setup at work, we don't do the same things at home. And anyone who works from home (especially writers) we may not even be aware that there is a problem. This can cause pain in our back, wrists, arms, and legs. For this Thursday Thirteen, I thought I would post some stretches that you can do to help with sore muscles that you would get from sitting at the computer for long periods of time.

Thirteen Stretches

1. Shoulder blade squeeze - Sit up tall with your chin tucked in against your chest. Squeeze your shoulder blades down and in. Hold this for 3 seconds.

2. Arms overhead shoulder blade squeeze - This is an advanced version of the shoulder blade squeeze exercise. Start with your hands comfortably positioned over your head. Squeeze your shoulder blades down and in. Hold for a count of 3.

3. Backward bends while standing - Place your hands in the small of your back and slowly bend backwards until you feel a gentle stretch in your trunk. Remember that stretching should not cause any pain. Hold the stretch for 3 seconds.

4. Hand squeezes - Begin with your fingers fully extended. Initially make a normal fist and squeeze as tightly as you can for 5 seconds. Next, straighten your fingers and then touch your fingertips to the base of your palm.

5. Wrist extension and flexing - Grasp your hand and hold your fingers with the other hand. Slowly bend your wrist down until you fell a stretch. Then slowly bend your wrist up until you feel the stretch.

6. Tennis elbow stretch - With your arm held down to your side, turn your arm in so that your palm faces backwards. Slowly bend your wrist, bringing your palm up towards the ceiling. You should feel a gentle stretch in the back of your wrist, forearm, and up into your elbow. You can increase the stretch by pushing your shoulder towards the floor.

7. Golfer's elbow stretch - With your hand at your side and the palm facing forward extend the hand and fingers backwards.

8. Shoulder shrugs - Lift your shoulders up towards your ears as high as you can. Hold them there for 3 seconds and then let them drop down as far as they will comfortably go and hold the stretch for 3 seconds.

9. Neck relaxer - Drop your head slowly to the left, trying to touch your left ear to your left shoulder. Repeat on the right side. Slowly drop your chin to your chest, turn your head all the way to the left, and then turn all the way to the right.

10. Tilt neck forwards - Gently tilt your head forward to stretch the back of the neck. Hold for 5-10 seconds. Hold only tensions that feel good.

11. Shoulder blade stretch - Interlace fingers, and then straighten arms out in front of you. The palms should be facing away from you as you do this stretch. Feel the stretch in the arms and through the upper part of the back (shoulder blade area). Hold stretch for 10-20 seconds.

12. Shoulder stretch - Interlace fingers then turn palms upwards above your head as you straighten your arms. Think of elongating your arms as you feel a stretch through arms and upper sides of rib cage. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

13. Chest stretch - The next stretch is done with fingers interlaced behind your back. Slowly turn your elbows inward while straightening your arms. An excellent stretch for your shoulders and arms. This is good to do when you find yourself slumping forward from your shoulders. This stretch can be done at any time. Hold for 5-15 seconds.

Finding pictures for each of these stretches might prove helpful. You should try and stretch several times a day.

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