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stretching

General Fitness and Well–Being

The Importance of Stretching Correctly

January 22, 2018
the importance of stretching correctly

Most of us stretch when we wake up in the morning or when we feel stiffness in certain areas. However, we should make stretching a part of our daily routine.

Whether you’re an office worker, runner, or fitness enthusiast, here are a few reasons on why you should be stretching correctly.


the importance of stretching correctly

To Improve True Flexibility

Forced stretching leads to opposite effects of stretching. If you’re just beginning (or just really tight) and find the muscle(s) not wanting to release, first relax into it instead of forcing the stretch. Only go as far as you can.
Relax and release a little at a time with every exhale (passive stretching). This way you’ll work with you true stretch and see more of an improvement in your flexibility. In fact, there are many types of stretching, choose the one that will work for you.

To Avoid Overstretching

Reduce the chance of injury from overstretching. The main reason to stretch is not only lengthen the muscle but to create more space in your joints and ligaments so there is less impact and so the bones can rotate properly to maintain appropriate range of motion.
Take one day at a time, and be careful not to go beyond your limit. Each day will be different. Know the difference between when you’re pushing yourself safely and when you’re over doing it.

the importance of stretching correctly the movement blog kindall payne

To Release Deep Muscle Connections

When stretching is done correctly and frequently enough, those aches and pains in deeper muscular areas can finally begin to release. Why? This is because deep muscle connections are all intertwined with each other. The psoas muscle, which connects to the lower back and top of the hamstring) is fantastic example of why the body needs to move and stretch as an entire system.

To Stretch Right for Your Body Type

Every type of body is unique and every type of body will need slightly different stretching techniques. Pay attention to your range of motion each day and where soreness and tightness may lie. Being aware about what your body needs each day will set how you perform, exercise, cool down, and stretch. Listen to your body and stretch mindfully.

Want more tips? Read this:

Tips for Working at Home

Ways to Release Tension

General Fitness and Well–Being Tips

Tips for Working at Home

November 8, 2017
sit up, stand up, and move tips for working at home the movement blog kindall payne

Are you an office worker, freelancer, self-employed or ‘digital nomad’? This one’s for those who tend to sit for long periods at a time on a laptop, desktop computer, and phone. Let’s talk about finding good posture while on our gadgets.

I spend a lot of time blogging and looking for freelance work online, so I can definitely relate. Here’s some useful tips to help us sit up, stand up, move and, most importantly, work more efficiently.

sit up, stand up, and stretch tips for working at home the movement blog kindall payne

Try to Sit on the Floor

Sitting on the floor allows the body to readjust and be in its natural form. To adjust the laptop height, use a few pillows. You can also sit on a pillow or put one behind your back. Folding the legs (as pictured above) can help release the hips and keep the knees healthy. If you’re leaning against a sofa, during break you can lean back, creating an arch in the spine.

Maintain the Head Over the Shoulders

The skull is one the heaviest points on the body. When the skull is no longer supported by your spine, it creates stress and impact on the neck. Forward head posture and rounded shoulders are one of the most common postural deviations, but can be avoided when repositioning the head to balance on top of the skull. To allow the head to be supported by the spine, change the height of the computer screen to eye level. Just prop a few books under the laptop.

sit up, stand up, and stretch tips for working at home the movement blog kindall payne

Stand Up Correctly

 Something as simple as standing up is a great way to give the hips and legs a break from compression. However, standing upright can be tricky. First, readjust the height of your computer screen to ensure proper head-spine alignment. Make sure your feet are comfortable with or without shoes. However, don’t stand too long, it’s best to alternate between sitting and standing every 1-2 hours. This helps the body to keep moving.

Mobilize the Hips

Lie down on your stomach, and bring yourself upward with your hands by the shoulders so that the hips are off the floor, like in Upward-Facing Dog Position. Relax the ribcage downward and bring the belly button inward to support the lower back. This position can help to recover the body from a constant frontal, folded position. If you would like to stretch more, come into a Lunge Position. Send the tailbone toward the floor and gentle engage the abdomen.

sit up, stand up, and stretch tips for working at home the movement blog kindall payne

Unlock the Jaw and Neck

 Treat yourself with a few minutes of self-massage starting with the the large jaw muscles then work your way around the muscles around base of the neck as well as the bones of the face.

Mobilize the Wrists

Especially after typing/working for hours on end, the hands often get left out. Clasp your hands together and straight your arms forward with the palms facing outward. Next, bring the clasped hands together and roll the wrists around, alternating each way.

Blink the Eyes

The eyes becomes fatigued when they become dry. The eyes become dry when there isn’t enough blinking happening. When we stare at a backlit screen for long periods time we often don’t blink enough, causing dry eye and blurriness. It may also be useful to make the text larger.

Go Upside Down

Or partially. Try a gentle spinal flexion roll down from the standing position is easy yet effective. Allowing the torso to be upside down releases tension from weight we carry due to gravity. Begin standing in a neutral, upright position. Slowly roll down, knees slightly bent. It’s OK if the hands don’t touch. Reverse the direction, with the chin into the chest until fully standing.

sit up, stand up, and stretch tips for working at home

Incorporating these intermittent sitting, standing, and movement strategies every 20-30 minutes can help you work more efficiently, longer, and with more ease. Remember to take real breaks.

Set a timer if needed. Perhaps encourage your colleagues around you to do the same. We only have one body, let’s take care of it.


Other Useful Links

Computer Work Doesn’t Have to Be a Pain the Neck – NYU

Computer Desk and Stretches – UC Santa Cruz

Damaging Effects of Forward Head Posture (PDF)

Correct Sitting Posture: Sitting at a Desk

General Fitness and Well–Being Travel

Travel-Sized Fitness and Well–Being Items

December 11, 2015

As it’s holiday season, here’s a compiled list of some essential ‘travel-sized’ fitness and well–being items.

After hours of getting to the airport, standing around, and flying you’re bound to be exhausted, dehydrated, and pretty sore. Travelling requires being (somewhat) prepared before, during, and after. This could also mean remembering to adhere to your fitness and well-being needs. Here are a few essential fitness and well–being items that could be beneficial for pre, during, and post airplane travel, although these items could be used for any other mode of transport as well. Here’s to Zen, Rock and Roll, and feeling refreshed.

travel-sized fitness and well-being items

Snoozing Must-Haves

Ear Plugs 

Protect your ears, drown out chatter and outside noise, and get a good snooze.

Eye Mask

Continue said snooze by drowning out that awful cabin light while refreshing the skin around the eyes (win/win).

Neck Cushion

Maintain proper sitting alignment by providing support for your neck to avoid awkward spinal positions.

Essential Oils

Try soothing scents, such as Chamomile, to help you relax and rest.
Poignant scents, like Grapefruit, can also help with jet lag and staying alert.

Comfy Gear

Gone are those days of high heels and your best threads. Embrace your favorite workout gear or oversized sweater.

Headspace/Mediation

Very helpful for nervous travellers or needing to fall asleep quickly to help adapt to a new time zone.

La Musica

Nearly all international flights now provide a variety of free music (and audiobooks).
Consider making your own off-line playlists.

Water, Water Everywhere

In a previous post, I mentioned the daily importance of staying hydrated. There’s no better time to practice good hydration than on a plane as flights are extremely dehydrating. You can easily give yourself a hydration boost with plenty of water, face mist, lip balm and moisturisers for the face, body, and hair. Vogue has even suggested using a hydrating face mask the night before and steaming your face from the bathroom sink once you’ve reached your destination (ooh la, la).

In addition, most airlines now allow free refills via their drinks cart or water fountain whenever you like during the flight. However, airplane tap water hasn’t received the best reviews due its potential health hazards. So, if you prefer, bring your own (empty) water bottle and help reduce plastic waste. Seize your filtered water journey by researching and comparing these top 10 water bottle filters, for instance. Filtering water helps to kill bacteria, absorb chlorine, and remove heavy metal ions (just to name a few).

Stretch It Out, Work It Out

travel-sized fitness and well-being items

Walking around and onboard stretching is a must, especially for long haul flights. For those who want more full-bodied approach can turn to yoga and GYROKINESIS®, which are especially useful in these situations as they can be done sitting or standing. Both exercise methods involve spinal motions, a core workout, and stretching of the entire body. Moving the spine and stretching the legs are generally beneficial to maintaining good health, so why stop on a plane?

Travelling for work or pleasure usually involves a considerable amount of walking, standing, and/or sitting more than your normal day to day routine. Take care of the body by exercising and stretching a little bit each day. Therabands/Resistabands are travel friendly and can provide a mini workout for the entire the body. Using resistance is useful for maintaining fitness and can be used as an aid for stretching.

Another favorite: tennis balls and spikey massage balls. Both tennis and spikey massage balls can be used to eliminate muscle knots and/or release myofascial trigger points. There are a series of simple exercises that can help relieve major points of the body such as the calves, hamstrings, back, hips, and gluteus, which can be done anywhere standing, sitting, or lying down. Excellent as a quick (and cheap) post-flight ritual.

Injured? Try Air Activated Ice/Hot Packs

If you’re injured or suffer back and joint pain, you’ll may need ice or heat to reduce inflammation or pain. Using air activated ice or heat packs are great way to continue your healing process. They are usually inexpensive, compact and, most importantly, are allowed in cabin luggage. Ask your doctor or therapist whether you should treat your pain/ injury with ice, heat, or both during your travels.

Bring ‘Airplane Food’

travel-sized fitness and well-being items

Another important aspect to consider, in turns of well–being, is the food we eat on the plane. Bringing healthy snacks can help us avoid overeating carbs and sugar. It can also help us feel better, improve potential jet lag, and have less swollen hands and feet. What we drink the plane is also an important factor, of course. Some sources say avoid non-water beverages due to dehydration (as mentioned before), however minimal intake of alcohol, tea and coffee can be all right when followed by plenty of water.

Check out these sources below for recipes and more information about eating and flying:

Deliciously Ella: How to Stay Healthy on the Plane

Packing Healthily

Meals You Can Carry On

Airplane Food and Cabin Pressure

Safe travels & Happy Holidays! xo