Stretching is crucial to maintaining flexibility and strength, and preventing injury. Whether sitting at a desk to work, or hiking the Huachuca Mountains – daily stretches are key to maintaining good health. Below you will find some of the easiest and best exercises for doing just that.
This exercise can be done when sitting or when standing with your feet hip-width apart, your back straight, shoulders down and both arms by your side. Take a deep breath and gently begin to tilt your head to the right and try to touch your ear to the top of your shoulder – without raising your shoulder.
For an extra stretch, raise your right arm and gently place your hand on the side of your head. Do not pull your head down, but feel the gentle weight of your hand add to the stretch in your neck. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and repeat on the other side. Repeat this exercise 3 times daily.
CROSS BODY SHOULDER STRETCH
This exercise can be done when either standing or sitting – an excellent stretch to do while at your desk. Begin by stretching your right arm out straight in-front of you. Bring your right arm across your body so that your palm faces the floor on your left side. Bend your left art at the elbow, hooking your left forearm under your right arm, supporting the right arm just above the elbow.
Use your left forearm to pull the right arm further towards your body, and feel the stretch across the back of your right shoulder. Hold for 20 seconds and then repeat on the other side. Repeat this exercise three times daily.
LACROSSE BALL MASSAGE
This exercise is best done with a solid rubber ball, such as a lacrosse ball.
Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart and your back against a wall. Place the ball between your shoulder blades on one side of your spine and using your legs, begin rolling the ball up and down, and side to side along the shoulder.
This exercise is an effective form of self-myofascial release – similar to what our patients receive when they have trigger point injections at our office. It helps to stretch and loosen tight fascia (a band of connective tissue) and like any exercise – best results are seen with repetition. Repeat daily for the best results.