We all know that we need to warm up and keep our muscles loose as we exercise, but we rarely do it at work because all that we do is email, enter data and answer the phone, right? That is not exercise, is it? Well, our muscles react to these multiple, small motion exercises just like they do with large, full motion exercises-and they do not recover as well as their larger cousins do. In other words, the small muscles in the neck, shoulders, hands and our postural muscles (back/abs) work all day, non-stop, which can be detrimental to their recovery-and to your ability to avoid disabling injuries.
In addition to the preparation of our morning lattes or cocoa we need to start a little exercise routine before we sit down and sift through our junk mail at the beginning of the day and when we come back from lunch.
These exercises should not hurt, and you should gradually see increased flexibility in your neck and shoulder region. As with any exercise routine, discontinue use if irritation ensues.
Shoulder elevation/depression: raise your shoulders straight up slowly, hold this position for a few seconds and then press them straight down, again (similar to a shrug, but do not roll your shoulders).
Shoulder protraction/retraction: slide your shoulders forward trying to bring them together in the front and then slide them straight back opening up your chest.
Two simple stretches for the neck (which also may help the shoulder and upper back) are: looking right/looking left. To perform this stretch simply look right, hold the position for 5-10 seconds then look left, again holding in a light, easy stretch. The second neck stretch is another easy one: lightly roll your head forward, trying to touch your chin to your chest, hold this position and then lightly roll your head back to where you are looking up at the sky, stretching out the front of your neck. If you have any pain or discomfort, stop. If it hurts, don't do this. Simple advice.
Repeat each stretch several (3-5) times, performing them lightly and holding them for at least 5-10 seconds.
Remember to take deep, full breaths while stretching and throughout the day. This may help relax you and your muscles. Less stress=less aggravation and less muscle fatigue!
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