Too many of us spend too much time hunched over our computers or phones. We are getting used to sitting in a slouched position, with our heads hanging forward and shoulders rounded. This puts more strain on the muscles that support those positions. (This is why you need to stand up straight!) Run one side of the spine over the top of your shoulders and between your shoulder blades.
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Simple Seated Stretches
As we sit through hour after hour of Zoom meetings, the back and shoulders may feel tight. This is because of the load that we carry in these meetings.
We all know that the more hydrated and the more circulation we have, the better we feel. We can’t always leave our desk or device, though, so we need to bring water with us.
Here’s the good news: a few stretches can really make a difference without you having to leave your seat.
Set an alarm to ring every hour through your day and do this seated sequence to provide quick relief for your upper back and shoulders.
1. Overhead Side Stretch
Sit back on the chair a little so there is room between your spine and the back of the chair. Spread your legs hip-width apart and place your feet on the floor.
Have your hands in a prayer position. Put your palms together. Then bring them up to shoulder height and sweep them out to the front and back. Try to make yourself as tall as possible by lifting your ribcage away from your hips.
Inhale to return to center. Exhale to the opposite side.
Inhale and then exhale to bring the clasped hands behind the back of your head with bent elbows out wide.
2. Cat & Cow Flow
As you inhale, bend your knees and arch your back. Tuck your head and shoulders into a forward fold.
Imagine bringing the back of your skull closer to your sacrum as you gently contract your back muscles to open your chest for a deeper breath. As you exhale tip backward on your sit bones and scoop your belly to round your back.
Lower your chin toward your chest and let your elbows drape by your ears, providing traction all the way down your back and between your shoulder blades.
Take a few deep breaths in and out, moving your spine up and down. Again. And again. Then, relax.
3. Twisting Neck Stretch
Let your arms and legs go limp. Turn your ribcage to the right so that you will be rotating in a clockwise direction, keeping your navel pointing forward to focus rotation on the middle of your back.
Hold the back of your seat with your right hand. Bring your left hand to your right thigh or knee. Lean your right ear toward your right shoulder for a gentle stretch over the left side of your neck.
Take a breath or two here, then tuck your chin toward your right shoulder. Feel the stretch shift slightly down your upper back toward your left shoulder blade.
Take one or two slow breaths here before coming back to the center to repeat on the second side.
Our bodies are amazingly resilient and we can often return to a normal position even after being in Zoom for hours.
I just took a couple of minutes to do this and it helped me relax my shoulders and upper back. I feel better for the rest of my day..