Are you slouched into your most comfortable couch? Using the chair from that 1970’s dining room set? Yes, the one with the plastic still on the seats. Lying in bed while trying to prop your head with a pillow? I’m sure these are just some of the various settings many of us are attempting while working from home these days. COVID-19 has eliminated the need to get up and visit a co-worker’s office for the answer to a question, to take a brisk walk when late for a meeting, or to get some exercise and fresh air during lunch or another break in the day. A lot of our daily movement has been eliminated. It is still important to stretch your joints and muscles throughout the day to prevent various cramps, aches, and pains. Below are a few easy stretches you can easily do from the comfort of your own home. The only equipment you’ll need is a wall or a chair.
- The Hip Opener: Simply sit on the edge of your chair with both feet hip-width apart and directly underneath your knees. Cross one ankle over the opposite knee, and then gently stretch forward allowing your arms to hang down towards the floor. Switch legs and repeat.
- Low Back Release: Sit sideways in your favorite chair (this does not include a bean bag, Lay-z-boy, or couch). With the arm closest to it, hold the back of the chair and gently twist the front of your body towards the back of the chair. With your other arm, reach beyond our opposite knee as far as you are comfortably able to do. Turn and repeat facing the opposite direction.
- Shoulder Release: Sorry, you’ll have to get up from your chair for this one. Stand next to a wall with one shoulder next to it. Extend that arm straight up, with your palm facing towards the wall. Move that arm down behind you slowly, like the motion of a clock going from 12 to six. Turn and repeat with your other arm.
- Half Downward Dog: The good news is you don’t have to know anything about yoga to do this. Stand facing the back of your chair, and then place your hands on the back of it. Take some steps backwards as far as you can go while still holding the back of the chair. Try to keep your arms and legs straight, in and upside down L formation, while stretching out your spine.
- Wrist and Shoulder Release: I know I’ve seen many people doing this in the office already, and you probably didn’t even realize it. For your wrists, extend your arm with the palm facing up and gently pull your fingers down and back with your other hand. Switch hands and repeat. For the shoulders, stretch both arms straight out in front of you and interlace your fingers, then turn your hands so the palms are facing outward. Raise your arms over your head, gently, and stretch.
If you get tired of these, there are many more available to explore that can be found online or through an app. Working any of these stretches into your daily work-from-home routine will surely help you get through one more Zoom meeting with a little less discomfort. However, we can’t guarantee that it will help your co-worker remember to mute their microphone before they yell at little Johnny to stop putting peanut butter in his sister’s hair. Some things are out of our control. Stay healthy!