With a lot of people working from home these days (hopefully not for long!) we might not be taking as many frequent breaks or getting in key exercises! Taking a quick break is good to allow for your mind and body to rest and reset. Long hours in not our most ideal working space may lead to some troubles! Maybe our shoulders, our neck, or our mid back are taking a bit more of a toll on us than normal. Want to find out how we can help? Stay tuned we have your mobility moments ready for you to test out!

What should my break look like?

Your breaks should be relatively frequent. No this doesn’t mean endless trips to the fridge, your eyes and your body need a break too! It has been suggested that our eyes should have a break every 15 minutes from screen time for 1-2 minutes. Additionally, rest breaks every 30-60 minutes to get up and get moving around, in this time you should have the opportunity to work in some quick stretches! [1] Micro-breaks are also an excellent type pf break as they allow you fix your posture or even stand up to adjust if needed. [1]

5 Quick Exercises

1. Doorframe Grabs: Grab the edge of a doorframe (or pillar!) slightly above your shoulder, standing away from the wall legs shoulder width apart, move the hips away and allow the body to lean into the wall slightly. 15-20 per side.

2. T-spine Rotations: Grab some desk space, place one elbow on the counter edge, the other at the back of your head. Breathe in and rotate up, breathe out and rotate down. 15-20 per side.

3. Neck Stretch: With the hands (or a ball!) place at the area just between where the shoulder and neck meet, apply a gentle downward pressure, then tilt the head away *can rotate the head to armpit if needed for more stretch; return to neutral slowly. Repeat for 30-60 seconds (approx. 10-15 times).

4. Scap Setting: Against a wall, stand slightly away and rest the hands below shoulder height, then gently draw shoulder blades together *remember shoulders are ear poison! 1 set of 10-15 with a 10 second hold. *Can also do seated at your desk

5. Finger Stretches: Take an elastic band (can be from Asparagus or other veggie packages!) place around the fingers, starting in a semi-closed grip separate the fingers evenly out in a star formation. 15-20 per side. *Great for if you’ve been typing or on the phone for longer than normal!

The above exercises will help get you up and get you moving! They will help reduce stiffness and keep you active during your break! It’s important to keep moving routinely throughout the day for spinal health and just overall well-being! Check out the video above for a demonstration of the first 3 exercises to show you how to get the best out of your break time.

What if I don’t have time for a break?

You should always make time for a break! Working from home shouldn’t be very different from your daily work routine. Your breaks may just look a little different right now. Especially not being in our normal environment we may be developing some bad habits at our makeshift desks (if we don’t have a nice home office). It is important for not only your physical health but, also your mental health to take a break and get some new perspective. So take that minute (or more) to have a break, fix that posture, and keep you moving so you can perform at your best! Quick trick, some of these exercises (Scap Setting and Finger Stretches) can be routinely done while you are still working!

Give these exercises a try and we are sure you will feel better! If you need further advice on you specific needs feel free to ask one of our therapists we would be happy to help program something specific to your unique needs!

References

[1] Hedge, A. (2019). Workstation ergonomics: take a break!. Found May 4, 2020 from: https://www.spineuniverse.com/wellness/ergonomics/workstation-ergonomics-take-break

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