Monday, August 4, 2014

The Essential 2 Minute Stretch Program

Stretch 1: Relieving Eyestrain

Ergonomically speaking, you should take a 10-minute break every hour you're working to prevent fatigue and repetitive stress injuries . You should get up, walk around and stretch. The reality is, however, that you may have less time to cram this in -- and that time may be spent running off to another task. So, if you're looking for a little office yoga here is a set of 10 essential stretches that you can do during your elevator ride, on the way to the parking lot, while on the phone or any time you can find two minutes.
Eye strain can easily be relieved. One way to relax the eye is to stretch the muscles that focus the lens. The key is to focus on things at different distances. You can follow your finger if nothing else will do.
  • Focus near, then far, near, then far.
  • Repeat a couple of times.
  • Take a couple of long blinks.
Stretch 2: Side to Side Neck Stretch

Stretching your neck side to side releases tension in you head, neck and shoulders.

  • Lay your head to the side, pivoting at the base of the neck.
  • Hold it for a few seconds, then lay it to the other side.
  • Repeat a couple of times.
This will loosen your neck and shoulder muscles. If you can do this with your eyes closed, it will help them relax as well.

Stretch 3: Front to Back Neck Stretch

Continue to stretch your neck with a front-to-back neck stretch that releases tension in your head, neck, back, hips and shoulders.
  • Pivot your head back and hold for a few seconds.
  • Move your head forward, placing your chin on your chest.
  • Repeat a couple of times.
This will continue to loosen your neck and shoulder muscles. Once those are relaxed, you can begin to loosen up your trunk.

Stretch 4: Standing Toe Touch

A standing toe touch is a great back stretch.
  • Bend forward at the waist and let your arms hang toward the floor.
  • Roll your back and your shoulders.
  • Do not lock your knees.
If your legs are stretching too much, bend at the knee until the stretch is focused in your back. Do not worry about actually touching your toes -- just hang down until you feel a good stretch in your back. If you need more of a stretch, you can touch your toes or place the palms of your hands on the floor.
This elongates your spine and loosens your back from the shoulders to the lower trunk.

Stretch 5: Back Stretch

Continue stretching your back with a reverse back stretch.
  • Place your palms on the back of your pelvis and lean back from the waist.
  • Drop your head back.
  • Hold for a few seconds.
If you have poor balance, spread your feet and take a wider stance.
This opens up your chest cavity and hips, elongating the spine along the natural "S" curve.

Stretch 6: Trunk Twist

Stretch the core muscle groups in your trunk with a twist.
  • Isolate the trunk and twist at the hip.
  • Take one arm and reach across your chest. Twist in that direction.
  • Drop your other hand and use it to reach behind your back.
  • Twist to the other side while switching arm positions.
  • Repeat a few times.
Now you are really working the trunk and loosening up the spine, which are both crucial to good balance and circulation.

Stretch 7: Upper Torso and Arm Stretch

Stretch your upper torso, back, shoulders and arms in one easy motion.
  • Hold your arms at a 90-degree angle with your hands, elbows and shoulders all at the same height.
  • Make fists with your hands.
  • Pull your arms back, squeezing your shoulder blades together and tightening your fists.
  • Push your hands forward until your arms are straight out of front of you.
  • Roll your shoulders forward and stretch out your upper back.
  • Open your hands with your wrists flexing up and spreading your fingers as you push forward.
  • Repeat a couple of times.
If you really work the muscles (squeezing and releasing), you can loosen up the area between the shoulder blades. It also stretches the arms from fingertip to shoulder blade and provides an extra good stretch of the wrist.

Stretch 8: Shoulder Stretch

You have already stretched your shoulders a couple of times during this stretch program, but so much of the body's stress gets localized in the shoulders that they need some extra stretching.
  • Reach your arm across your chest with your upper arm close to your collar bone.
  • Take your other hand and grab the crossed arm's elbow.
  • Pull your arm closer to your body and stretch your shoulder.
  • Now do the other shoulder.
  • Repeat a couple of times.
This stretches the back side of the shoulder from the shoulder blade around to the upper arm.

Stretch 9: Arm and Wrist Stretch
Stretch your ankles and get your blood flowing in your lower body.
  • Lift your knee up as high as you can, and flex your ankle back as far as you can.
  • Extend your leg forward pivoting at the knee, Flex the ankle forward as far as possible.
  • Repeat a few times.
This one stretch will loosen up most of the leg. If you throw in a little side-to-side motion while doing this, you can loosen up the hip as well.