Break the WFH ache: 5 simple stretches you can do in your lunch break
Living through a global pandemic, we’re spending hours of our lives cooped up in our homes. Sitting for long periods of time and staring at a screen for hours on end poses some serious health risks – back and shoulder pain, eye fatigue and carpal tunnel are just a few of the downsides of working at a desk or from bed all day.
So we need to make sure that we're taking regular breaks to exercise – even just five to 10 minutes every hour – to get up, stretch the legs and get a change of scenery. You’ll be surprised how much this helps with stress and your mental health, not to mention your physical wellbeing.
Here are five easy home exercises you can do with CBII in your lunch hour:
The Eagle Pose
The Eagle Pose is one of the best yoga poses to stretch your body out after spending a day hunching over a desk.
It stretches out the shoulders, wrists and the upper back. You can do this standing up, wrapping one foot around the other ankle to loosen and stretch the hips and ankles, release any tension between the shoulder blades and the sacrum, all while strengthening the leg muscles.
But it's easy enough to do while sitting at your desk too. Extend both arms out in front of you, bend your elbows and cross your left elbow over your right as though you're hugging yourself. Bring your palms together in a prayer position and try to lower your twisted arms down towards the floor to extend the stretch. Hold the pose and feel the tension lifting from between your shoulder blades. Swap arms and repeat as often as you need to.
Inversion is a technique of flipping your body upside down or at an inverted angle to stretch out the spine.
It's a fantastic after-work exercise as it relieves pressure on the back and spine, helping with short term back pain. Most of us won't have the fancy equipment for doing inversion therapy properly, but there are many yoga poses that help with the same benefits.
Try downward facing dog, dolphin stand, a headstand, or a supported shoulder stand. Or simply lie with your backside again the wall and prop your feet up on the wall at a right angle. Going upside down is believed to strengthen the core and boost circulation, heart health and the immune system.
The Cobra Pose is one of the easiest and most natural poses for stretching out the back, wrists, arms and shoulders.
Lie facedown on the floor with your legs stretched out behind you. Spread your hands on the floor in line with your shoulders. Press your elbows against the sides of your body and lift your chest up while pressing your tailbone down.
Keep your shoulders lowered and hold the pose for 15 to 30 seconds while breathing steadily. Lower to the floor as you exhale. Repeat as often as you need to.
Seated Spinal Twist
A seated spinal twist is a great exercise for releasing pressure in the lower back after working at a desk all day. Not only does the twisting posture help to relieve pressure on the lower back, but it also strengthens the core and massages the internal organs for better digestion.
Take a seat on the floor with your legs stretched out straight in front of you. Bend your right knee and cross your foot over your left thigh. Bend your left knee into the shape of a human pretzel. Place your right arm behind you for stability and slowly twist your body, looking over your right shoulder. Place your left arm over your right knee and pull it in towards you for a tighter stretch.
Remember to breathe. WIth every exhale, try to stretch a little deeper. Repeat the exercise on the other side.
Rest Your Eyes
Our eyes muscles contain a lot of muscles too that tense up after hours staring at a computer screen. So, it's important to work these muscles and relieve any eye strain while WFH.
1. Roll your eyes
Sit at your desk or any comfortable place in an upright position. With your shoulders back and your head facing forwards, move only your eyes in a full, deep circle. Look to the right, then up towards the ceiling, down to the left and then down to your feet. Repeat in the other direction. This counts as one rep. Aim for 10 reps, twice a day for best results.
2. Social distancing (for the eyes)
When we're staring at a screen all day, our eyes get tired. To prevent digital eye strain, you should apply the 20/20 eye exercise rule. This applies to laptops, computers, phones an TVs. Every 20 minutes, turn your gaze to something in the distance for 20 seconds to prevent eye fatigue. This gives our eye muscles a chance to rest.
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