“You can do several spinal stretches at work that don’t require you to have yoga pants on.”
— Dr. Sara Whedon (00:05-00:11)
Did you know that you can maintain proper spinal alignment while at work? In a way that doesn’t require you to have yoga pants on, lay on the ground or get into a position that’s inappropriate for the workplace? These are called mindful minutes. In this week’s episode, Dr. Sara Whedon shares helpful tips to reduce stiffness and pain through spine stretches.
Part One of ‘Spine Stretches (5 Tips to Reduce Stiffness and Pain)’
Gentle stretches help decompress the spine in a useful way. During the day, gravity tends to pull us down. We lose our posturing, and all of a sudden, the muscles are working hard to keep us upright.
To offset that, we’ve got to remain the spine and the muscles that our spine moves in several different directions, not just compress down in the sea when we slouch, sit in meetings, or we’re on the phone with our head turned.
“Spinal stretches help activate your muscles that don’t necessarily activate when you’re just sitting.”
— Dr. Sara Whedon (02:17-02:25)
The first stretch is the pencil. which can help elongate your spine. Sometimes you can go straight up or all the way around, but this helps to reground you. You can do it seated or while standing up. Make sure that you do this in a way that it doesn’t cause your posturing to fall forward.
You want to be able to do this in such a way that you can stand straight up and make a straight pencil. Anything else is going to cause the bag to contract reflexively, and it’s not going to feel so great. Just pretend like you’re making a nice, tall, lean pencil and take a deep breath. When you get to the top, it’s the same thing when you come down. So, that’s the first stretch.
The next stretch is the turn and twist. Imagine that you’ve got an invisible line in front of you, and you want your arms to match. Just turn to the right and the left. This is not a fast-paced motion. Move back and forth. Have nice and slow control.
It’s giving the body the rotation to activate some of those muscles that we don’t activate when we’re just sitting in our chair. One way that you could modify it is instead of having your arms close to the body; you could go arms wide. It helps you decide how far you can rotate on either side. But notice that it’s nice and controlled in both directions.
Part Two of ‘Spine Stretches (5 Tips to Reduce Stiffness and Pain)’
The next exercise requires you to bend at the waist. Keep a nice, firm, nice, grounded stance at the knees. But what I want you to do is envision activating your core. This is known as the windmill. So, arms out at your side. We’re going to activate our core and our glutes. We’re going to give them a little squeeze. We’re going to bend gently to try and touch your opposite hand tops and leg.
“Spinal stretches offer massive benefits to help improve your spinal stability.”
— Dr. Sara Whedon (07:13-17:16)
Physical exercise offers a lot of benefits. You can use exercise as a way to determine how you feel in your day. Figure out if you should push yourself or slow down your pace a little bit. Your body will give you prominent indications as far as what’s going on to help you decide how to best utilize your body for the day.
Hopefully, you enjoyed these four gentle spinal stretches for the workday. You can use them anytime without equipment. They will greatly improve your spinal stability.
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