In the hustle and bustle of northern Virginia, time is at a premium. One question we are frequently asked by patients is, “What are a few of the most beneficial stretches I can do at home?” In other words, which stretches will provide the best ROI for your time investment.
In this series of blog posts, we’ll address that question. But first, a quick disclaimer: Stretching programs should always be overseen and approved by a chiropractor or another qualified healthcare professional.
We’re going to start off our first week with a stretch that can be particularly beneficial for people who sit much of the day at a desk or while driving. Prolonged sitting is rough on posture and can lead to hunched shoulders or shortening of the hip flexors.
The Fix: Dynamic Multiplanar Lunge
This stretch is basically a lunge performed in three different directions (forward, to the side, and rotating backward) with each leg. If you don’t know how to perform a lunge, here’s a step-by-step tutorial on YouTube.
Complete 12 repetitions of the stretch. One complete repetition means performing all 3 lunge positions with each leg, so you’re actually doing a total of 72 lunges. It only takes a few minutes and doesn’t require a ton of space so may be able to do this in a large office, or you may be able to take a quick trip outside on your lunch break. If you are on the road, try this when you stop at a rest area.
Benefits of this Stretch
When a person has been sitting for an extended period of time, the hips become tight. This exercise stretches the hip flexor in multiple planes, thereby maximizing the benefits for the muscle group that is most impacted by sitting. Without tightening the core and keeping the shoulders back, you may fall over while performing the lunges, so it also fights against shoulder hunching by requiring an upright posture and core stability.
This stretch provides you with a great return on your time. You literally only have to complete the 12 repetitions once per day to improve posture and fight against the wear and tear caused by sitting all day long.
Stretching for Your Health
Now you have the first stretch in your arsenal to combat poor posture. Try to do it at some point today. And if you’re sitting in front of a screen right now reading this, whether at a desk or on a mobile device – don’t forget to straighten up and keep those shoulders back!
Stay tuned for more stretching advice in future articles. Don’t forget that if your office job has you feeling sore in your back, shoulders, or neck that you can always get a same-day emergency appointment with Dr. Ward, and we also have Saturday morning hours to avoid conflicts with your busy work schedule. Call (703) 672-1661 to set up an appointment today.