If you are like most people, sitting due to work or life, has become a regular daily occurrence. And, often times, finding the time to stretch and stay moving becomes more and more difficult. If you are one of these individuals or are just tight all over, then this article will be perfect for you.
The reason stretching is so important on a daily basis is not just based on the benefits of having good flexibility, but also to have good blood flow, hydrated muscles and an overall feeling of being relaxed. The normal function of muscle is based on the “use it or lose it” philosophy. By sitting for hours a day or having a sedentary lifestyle you end up with, not only tight muscles, but also very dehydrated muscles. Someone who spends a majority of time sitting or sedentary is actually more likely to injury themselves than someone who is active and moving about. The reason, well there are quite a few, but one of the primary reasons is that people that are moving, working out and staying active tend to stretch as a “automatic response” to the activities with which they are participating. For example, if you ask just about anyone when or if they stretch each day, almost 100% of the time they will respond, ” yes, usually after I workout (or some activity).” This is generally due to the association that people apply to activity and stretching. So, if you are someone who does not exercise or participate in a normal activity on a daily basis then you can see how easy it is to side-step stretching due to a lack of that association.
So in this article I will explain a few ways that you can stretch, while at work, your desk or at the office that are simple, quick and to the point that will benefit you the most.
Stretch #1: The leg cross.
Pretty basic. Step 1: cross your legs. Step 2: sit up as straight as you can, Step 3: wrap both hands around your crossed knee and gentle pull the knee towards your chest. You should feel a slight stretch (or pulling like sensation) in the buttocks on the leg you are pulling on. Now, you will likely have to move the angle that you pull the knee towards the chest and “play with it” till you find that nice deep stretching feeling throughout the buttocks area. Try to avoid “hunching” over or bending over in the back – keep it straight! Hold this stretch for 30-45 seconds one time for every hour you are sitting.
The Reason: The glute (buttock) muscles are generally the tightest on almost every patient I run across. They simple do not use them and stretch them enough for the amount of time they are seated. So this stretch will actively “wake them up” and try to keep them loose. It is also the most common cause of back pain for someone who is in-active.
Stretch #2: The seated hamstring. (or standing if necessary)
This one will require you bring a towel to the office, or use your office chair.
Step 1: while seated, sit up as straight as you can, Step 2: wrap a towel around your mid foot just below your toes, Step 3: straighten your leg as far as you can until you feel a good stretch right behind the knee and upper hamstring. If you are unable to bring a towel, then simply stand up and put your foot on your chair, with your leg completely straight and your back and body standing straight, pull your toes towards your chest and slightly lean into your foot – keeping your back completely straight. You can do this by simply pushing your buttocks backwards while initiating this stretch. This should provide you a nice stretch behind the knee. Hold the stretch for 30-45 seconds each leg at least one time for every hour you are sitting.
The Reason: The hamstrings are, believe it or not, the second tightest muscle I run across with patients generally, due to inactivity and lack of stretching. This stretch will help elongate the entire length of the muscle and also help relieve some back soreness or even pain.
While there are many stretches you can perform daily, these are two that are quick, simple and easy to perform at your desk or in your office that will provide you with great benefit in an attempt to “loosen you up”!!!!
There will be more stretches provided in the future, but please begin these today!!
Quick note: Water intake is not the answer because the dehydration is due to lack of nutrients that are able to reach the muscles with new blood that creates the tightness. So please don’t begin to drink gallons of water each day that will not help. Simply be active and stretch regularly, 4-5 times daily.
Dr. Travis Conley is a co-founder of Triple Dynamix, Inc., a company dedicated to providing instructional materials for the purpose of building functional strength and mobility. For more information on researched-based, clinically proven, and simple exercises to avoid back pain and increase low back fitness visit us at [http://www.tripledynamix.com].
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