It’s easy to fall into bad habits when your daily routine is turned upside down. While we all are spending more time than ever at home, it’s important to keep your body moving for both your physical and mental health. There’s quick and easy things you can do throughout your day to keep your blood flowing and keep your health in check like taking a walk around the block or streaming an online workout.
No matter what you’re doing, it’s important to take the time to stretch your muscles and maintain your range of motion. Stephen Vitale PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, OMT, reminds us that “Aches and pains happen from either under-doing or over-doing activity. Both of them can be equally problematic. Most of us are currently on the under doing side of the spectrum right now. Make sure you are still moving!” He recommends the below as some of the best ways to keep your muscles flexible, strong, and healthy while you work from home:
1. Foam Roller on Thoracic Spine
While laying on the roller on your back, support your head with your arms and slowly roll up and down on your back. Do not roll onto your lower back, or your neck. Stay on your back where you can feel your rib cage.
2. Hip Flexor Stretch
Most people will see others at the gym really stretched out with their leg very far behind them. (This is essentially cheating!) Put one knee down, and one knee up. Tighten your buttock muscle of the down leg (or do a pelvic tilt) and gentle push forward.
3. Corner Pec Stretch
Put both forearms on the wall in a corner and lean forward until you feel a stretch across your chest muscles. Be careful to not over stretch.
I always find it funny when people tell me, “I don’t do squats” or “I was told I should never do squats”. My response is always, “Really? How did you get on the toilet this morning without squatting?” Everyone needs to know how to squat down and use their leg muscles. Put a chair behind you and reach for it with your glute muscles. Don’t allow your knees to fall in towards each other and avoid allowing your knees to go over your toes.
This is a fantastic core exercise! Put your forearms on the ground and lift your body up so you are only on your forearms and toes. Hold for about 30 seconds but make sure your back is straight. It’s not worth doing 1 second of a plank with poor form because you are no longer achieving your goal.
6. Nose Nod/ Chin Tuck/ Deep Neck Flexor
When we are all stuck looking at a screen, we tend to have a “forward head” posture. Think about gently nodding your nose down like you are giving yourself a double chin. Don’t allow the mirror muscles (the muscles you can see if you look in a mirror) to tense up.
7. Ball Roll Under the Desk
This is a great way to help keep the knees moving if you ever get knee stiffness and/or pain. Place a ball under your desk and roll it around while you are working. Essentially, you are using the ball as a fidget toy so you are moving but don’t need to pay attention so you can focus on your work.
8. Theraband Rows
If you have a theraband, tether it somewhere about the height of your chest. Pull your elbows down and back and pinch your shoulder blades together.
9. Calf Stretch
There are 2 main muscles as part of the calf. To stretch both of your muscles, you need to stretch with a straight leg and a bent leg. Lean up against a wall with one leg in front of the other. Push your back heel into the ground and lean forward. You should feel a stretch in the back leg.
10. Seated Heel Raises
Our body pumps blood though the legs by using our muscles as a pump. When we are sitting for a long period of time, we want to make sure the blood flow is still happening. While sitting, simply lift your heels up and down throughout the day.
When you’re spending a lot of time inside, you may not get the chance to get in as much activity as you used to. Not moving your body can lead to muscle tension, decreased energy, poor posture, and make you more prone to injury. You can do these exercises together, or sporadically throughout the day, whenever you feel you need it!
If you’re interested in learning more exercises to do at-home, schedule an appointment with your local clinic today. For patients unable to make it into the office, we are also offering telehealth services. Contact your local clinic for more information, https://www.professionalpt.com/physical-therapy-clinics/.
Are you a business owner with employees working from home? Professional Physical Therapy is hosting a Virtual Corporate Wellness Program, a series of seminars to educate your team on staying healthy, productive, and safe. For more information, please contact program director, Stephen Vitale at 857-302-4011 or firstname.lastname@example.org.