Workplace Health part three…

During the colder months, it is always easy to neglect our bodies’ needs and spend most of the time curling up on the sofa or huddled by a computer. It is important to keep moving to stop your muscles from becoming stiff and to frequently wash your hands to help stave off those pesky colds.

This month’s top tips:

Answering the telephone can cause a lot of problems many people are not aware of.

– If you are someone who holds the handset between your ears and shoulder this can place undue stress on the muscles of the neck, upper traps and shoulder.

– If you cradle the phone on the same side, it may shorten, compress and weaken the neck muscles on one side while stretching the muscles on the opposite side causing imbalances between each side. This imbalance can cause headaches, stiffness, and both localised and global pain in the neck, shoulders and arms.

  • Try to hold the phone with your hand or use a hands free device.
  • Try to answer the phone with a different hand each time and always remember not to lean in to the phone.
  • Take a walk every time you take a coffee or tea break
  • Take the stairs and walk up escalators
  • Don’t eat lunch at your desk – this is very tempting with the cold weather but this is actually causing more damage to your body then you realise. By taking a break from your desk your body is less likely to get stiff.  You can take some time to release any tension in your neck, shoulders and back.

Here are our featured exercises to help alleviate those aches and pains. Remember to try and hold the stretch so that you feel a gentle pull in the area:

1. Neck Rotations:

Neck rotation

  • Slowly turn your chin to one shoulder.
  • Breathe deeply into the stretch.
  • Hold the stretch for 5 to 10 breaths.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

2. Standing calf stretch:

Standing calf stretch

  • Stand an arms length away from a flat wall.
  • Lean forward and place both hands on the wall, making sure they are shoulder width apart.
  • Place one foot closer to the wall
  • Place the other foot behind you while keeping the heel on the ground
  • With your hips lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in the calf of the leg placed behind you.
  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • If you need a deeper stretch, move your foot further back.

3. Kneeling lunge:

Kneeling lunge stretch

  • Begin in a kneeling position with one knee on the ground and the other foot positioned in front of you.
  • Press your hips forward, don’t let front knee go over the toes.
  • You should feel a stretch in your hip flexors.
  • Hold this position for 10-15 seconds while keeping the back straight.
  • Release the stretch by returning to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the opposite side
  • For a deeper stretch tilt the pelvis, as if you were tucking your tail between your legs, while in the stretch.

4. Stretching side bend:

Stretching side bend

  • Stand with your back against a wall.
  • Place your arms above your head while holding each elbow with your opposite hand. Place your feet hip width apart.
  • Lift up with your abdominals and bend to one side.
  • Return to the middle and repeat with the other side.

5. Arm On Wall Stretch (Biceps and Chest):

Arm on wall stretch

  • Stand facing a corner of the wall.
  • Bend your elbow and place your forearm on the wall with your fingers facing up.
  • Keeping your arm in position, turn your body away from the wall.
  • Feel the stretch in your biceps and chest.
  • Repeat by switching sides.
  • You can raise or lower your elbow to stretch upper and lower chest muscles.

6. Wrist stretch:

Extensor Stretch (downwards)

Extensor Wrist stretch

  • Keeping elbow straight grasp your hand and slowly bend wrist downwards until you feel a stretch.
  • Keep your shoulders down and back
  • Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, repeat on the other hand

Flexor Stretch (upwards)

Flexor Wrist stretch

  • Use the same position and posture as the extensor stretch.
  • Take one hand and grasp the other at the fingers. Slowly pull the fingers back to feel a stretch in the wrist.
  • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other hand.

Trinity Laban Health

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