Seriously, haven’t you ever felt whipped and sore after working at a desk all day staring at a computer? It seems almost as though you’ve worked at heavy lifting with aches and pains everywhere, particularly in the shoulder area and back.
What’s even worse, when you’re not at work and participating in other endeavors that require more activity, you start to feel even worse, with all muscles joining in the “achefest.”
There’s a good reason for that. Your body simply isn’t used to moving those muscles, and they’re tight. Just look at cats for the answer. Cats continuously stretch and you should too.
Yoga has become very popular because people find that the stretching can help prevent sore muscles while it relieves stress and tension. It improves range of motion and can help to avoid injuries as well.
① Start with a Simple Stretch to Relieve the Pain in Your Shoulder Blades
To maximize the results of any stretching, you have to reverse tightness caused by the way you hold your body most frequently. Bending over a keyboard in sitting position can make your muscles tighten in both your back and shoulder blades.
A stretch that reverses this is one that opens the chest area, which is the opposite of your normal position.
ⓐ Sit in a kneeling position with your bottom sitting on your calves or heels. Make sure you’re sitting straight and tall. If you’d like a more aggressive stance, don’t rest your backside on your feet but sit up straight, bent only at the knee.
ⓑ Intertwine your fingers behind your back so that your palms face toward your body.
ⓒ As you press down your shoulders, lift your arms. You’ll feel the muscles stretch and pull.
ⓓ Arch your body backward if you want a more intense stretch.
ⓔ Make sure your head is aligned with the spine, so there’s no pressure on the neck and hold this position for a minimum of twenty seconds. Make sure you don’t hold your breath as you do it, but breath deeply throughout the stretch.
Note: *If you need relief at work, you can do this exercise sitting in a chair with your feet placed flat, interlocking your fingers and stretching back in your chair.
② Eliminate Lower Back Pain by Stretching
If you’re like many people who work in an office, you often have lower back pain that you can trace back to stiff hip flexors and quadriceps. You can relieve that pain by stretching those muscles, while also helping to prevent the problem in the future.
ⓐ Get into kneeling position, then step one foot in front of you, much like a knight kneeling in front of the queen to receive a knighthood.
Your ankle will be in a perpendicular line to your knee. Straighten the other leg as much as possible, lifting your knee off the ground and placing the weight of that leg on the toes.
ⓑ Press your hips toward the front while keeping them in line and your hands on either your hips or thighs. You can make the stretch more challenging but also deeper by raising the arm above your head, which is opposite of the bent leg in front and bending your body toward the side of the leg.
ⓒ Make sure you breathe normally during the stretch, holding the position for at least 15 seconds before you switch and put the opposite leg forward.
Note: *Consider using a rope or exercise band to create more resistance and making the stretches deeper.
③ Loosen the Piriformis Muscle and Eliminate the Pain in Your Backside, Hips and Knees
Runners do this stretch to help prevent pain that comes from a tight IT band that stretches from the hips to the knee and a tight piriformis muscle that’s responsible for rotating the hip, while also eliminating pain that can occur in your bottom or the back of your legs.
You create a figure four with your legs, and while you do, stretch all the muscles that get stiff from inactivity. This can be an excellent exercise for those with sciatica, the pain that runs from the lower back through the buttocks and down the back of the thighs.
ⓐ Lay on the floor and put both legs in the air to create an L shape.
ⓑ Bring one foot forward toward your body. Grasp the foot and cross it over the other leg with the ankle atop the other legs knee.
ⓒ Bend the other leg so it’s at a right angle to the body.
ⓓ Reach forward with both hands and clasp them behind the leg that’s bent. You’ll have one arm at the outside of the bent leg and the other arm woven between your two legs. Intertwine your fingers for a better grip.
ⓔ Use the ankle on top of the knee to press against the erect bent leg. As you press it away from the body with the leg that’s on top, you’ll feel the stretch.
ⓕ Stretch as far as you can, while also maintaining deep breathing throughout, holding the position for at least 20 seconds. Do the same stretch alternating the leg on top.
Note: *If you’re too tight and this causes too much pain, consider a modified form with the leg not raised as much and your arms laying flat beside you.