10 Stretches to Relieve Muscle Tension

Working from home? We’ve got you covered! Here are 10 stretches you can do to #StayActive, and help prevent muscle tension.
As many people are settling into working from home, we’ve compiled a list of 10 stretches you can do to take a break from your computer. Whether you have arthritis or not, these stretches are beneficial to all.

Sitting in front of your computer for an extended period of time can take its toll, especially if you do not have a supportive chair or a standing desk. Give yourself about 15 to 20 minutes away from the screen and to stretch with the following routine.

**Always check with your physician before starting a new exercise or movement routine**
Stretching at desk
Tricep Stretch

1. Shoulder Rolls

Begin in a standing position, shrug your shoulders upward and rotate your shoulders back in a circular motion. Envision that you are reaching up to your ears with your shoulders.
Repeat 10x

2.  Shoulders and Chest

Extend your arms out behind you (interlace your fingers if you can). This is great for opening up the chest from being in a slouched position. Slowly lift your head up toward the ceiling, then down to the floor.
Repeat 8-10x

3. Arm Circles

Open your arms out to your sides, about shoulder height. Start with small circles in a clockwise direction, moving gradually to large circles then switch to counterclockwise circles.
30 seconds each direction.

4. Forearm Stretch

Extend your right arm out in front of your body, palm facing up. Using your opposite hand, grab ahold of your right fingers and bend at the wrist, opening up the palm and holding for a few seconds. You should feel this stretch throughout your forearm.
Repeat 5x each side.

5. Tricep Stretch

Lift your right arm up, reaching toward the ceiling.  Take your left hand across the front of your body and gently supporting your right elbow in place while bending your arm back, with the right hand down. Try to keep your right arm in line with your right ear. Hold a few seconds then switch sides.
3x each side.

6. Bodyweight Squats

Start with your feet hip-width apart and toes facing forward. Send your hips back then down into a squat while keeping your feet flat on the floor. Only squat as low as it is comfortable for you. Make sure that your knees are not caving in, your chest is up and your back is flat.
3 rounds of 10 squats.

7. Hamstring Stretch

Extend one leg out in front, heel down and toe up. Bending at the waist, try to keep your back flat and your extended leg straight with just a slight bend at the knee. Reach down towards your upward flexed foot. Hold 5- 10 seconds then switch legs.
Repeat 5x (alternating each leg)

8. Ankle Mobility

Either sitting in a chair or from a standing position while using the wall for support, bend your knee until your foot is off the floor. Start by flexing your foot by pointing the toes up, then pointing the toes down. Repeat 5x then slowly rotate the ankle clockwise 1o times then switch to counterclockwise. Repeat on the opposite leg.
Repeat 2x each side (alternating)

9. Trunk Stretch

From a standing position with your feet hip-width apart, raise your right arm over your head. Slowly bend at the waist to the left side, only going as far as is comfortable. Hold that position for a few seconds then switch sides.
Repeat 5x each side (alternating each side as you go)

10. Breathing Exercise

This may sound funny at first but your diaphragm is another muscle that could use some extra attention. This muscle is responsible for contracting and flattening as you breathe. Practicing breathing exercises can help during times of stress by grounding the mind and body while also slowing down your breath.
Start by lying on a flat surface with your knees bent and your head supported.  So that you can feel your diaphragm at work, place one hand on the upper part of your chest and the other hand just below your rib cage.
Breathe in slowly through your nose and try to bring the air deep into your belly, not just filling the chest with air. This may take some practice if you typically take shallow breaths. You should feel the hand below your rib cage, rising up with each deep breath.
Hold your breath for 5 seconds, while feeling your core muscles tighten. Slowly exhale from the mouth, feeling the air leave from your belly, then from the chest. Now you’ll feel the hand placed under your rib cage lower down with each exhale.
Start with 10 of these deep breathing exercises or take as much time with these as you need.
 
 

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