As a fitness writer, exercise is a big part of my life, but so is sitting. I sit at my laptop while working, I sit on the sofa relaxing, and on trips Ping between car, bus, plane and train seats.
Despite playing sports and regular strength training, the back, shoulders, neck and back often feel stiff and tight. So I decided to look for stretches to help me feel fresher.
That’s how I found Dr. Adam McCluskey. She’s a doctor of physical therapy with an Instagram account (ThePtInitiative) where she shares tips, tricks and stretches to help followers “move better and live pain-free.”
Among his tasks was a four-movement “desk mobility routine” that requires nothing more than trying on a chair. So I decided to give it a try and document the results.
How to Do Dr. Adam McCluskey’s Desk Mobility Routine
- Chair supported rounds 2×10 on each side
- Kneeling Chest 2×12
- Assisted side bend 2×15 on each side
- Seated figure four plus rotation 2×12 on each side
You can see demonstrations of each movement by watching the video below.
My guarantees for trying this “desk movement routine”.
1. It worked fast
From start to finish, this routine took me about 10 minutes. It’s definitely not long enough to remove years of muscle tightness, but I did notice some differences during and after the workout.
Both chair supported spins and kneeling chest extensions provided a really enjoyable stretch to the front of my shoulders. By the second round of each move, my body felt warmer, my shoulder joint was more mobile, and I could do the moves without discomfort.
The fourth move also sent a welcome deep stretch through my hips and glutes, areas that can tighten and weaken from too much sitting.
2. My spine felt looser afterwards
When we exercise, we usually try to keep our backs straight. If we bend our back during exercise, it is usually to bend it forward to sit up. But this is not how we use our spine in everyday life.
Whether we’re reaching to grab our bag from an overhead luggage rack or turning to talk to someone sitting next to us, our backs need to move in a variety of ways. This routine reflects that variation with a variety of stretches, side bends, and rotations.
By the end of the session, my spine felt much looser. Each movement also offered a pleasant stretch to different parts of the body. I felt the assisted side bend stretch down the side of my body, while the kneeling chest targeted the center of my back.
3. It identified bottlenecks
This routine really showed me where my tight spots are. The kneeling chest (middle of the spine) identified and eased the knot in the middle of my back, while the chair-supported rounds emphasized the tightness in the front of my shoulders.
I was also surprised to find how much tighter my hips were on my left side than my right in the seated position of the last movement. I could easily grab the edge of the chair seat with my left hand as I leaned over my right knee, but I couldn’t get close on the opposite side.
It’s helpful to identify these tight spots because it means I can look for stretches and target them in future mobility sessions.
4. I felt relaxed and ready to focus
My body was grateful for the extra exercise and I found that being away from my laptop for 10 minutes perked me up. But it wasn’t just my muscles that felt less tense after this routine
After completing it, it was easier for me to focus on work – and write the piece you are reading now.
Would I try again?
I would do this routine all over again. I ended up feeling looser in my spine and shoulders and enjoying taking 10 minutes out of my day for a relaxing stretch.
Instead of regularly doing the entire routine, I’m more likely to stash these moves in my back pocket for days when I want to kill time at my desk with a quick move.
I also liked how accessible it was – all you need is a chair and you’re good to go. So if you work at a desk, I definitely recommend giving it a try.
Want more routines to help you feel more flexible? Try these yoga stretches for beginners or do hip stretches to combat the damage caused by sitting all day.
Need a new mat to support your stretching program? Check out our guide to the best yoga mats of 2023
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Image Source : www.fitandwell.com