Nothing says confidence like good posture and a body that moves well. If you spend too much time hunched over a screen (don’t we all!), try these targeted moves to stay agile and radiant.
* New moves added weekly! *
Chair Thoracic Opener
It doesn’t take complicated movements to counteract our sitting-and-screen time. Here’s a favorite way to tend to upper-body tightness:
1. To start, you can either kneel in front of your chair and place your elbows on the chair seat, or sit and scoot your chair back, putting your elbows on your desk.
2. Clasp your hands together and slowly sink your chest towards your knees, allowing your head to slide between your arms.
3. Remain in this position for a few deep breaths, seeing if you can feel a gentle release across your upper body… maybe even sinking deeper towards the floor.
Seated Thoracic Twist
Which part of your spine do you think is designed to do the most twisting?
If you guessed your lower back…. sorry! It’s the middle (thoracic) part of your spine that is meant to do more twisting. (Your lower back is designed primarily for stability.)
Trouble is, our chair- and screen-based lifestyles have left our thoracic spines super tight and locked up. Here’s the perfect way to get movement back into that area.
You can kneel on the floor or sit in a chair for this one. If you’re in a chair, make sure your knees stay pointed straight ahead throughout. Raise your arms and fold your hands behind your head, with elbows wide.
- Twist gently to the left, keeping your spine upright
- Stay twisted and slowly reach your left elbow toward the ground behind you
- Stay twisted while gently returning to an upright, twisted position
- Slowly untwist to face forward
- Repeat 5 times on the left side before moving to the right side
- See if you can feel yourself twisting further with each rep!
Your neck works hard, all day long. So do your shoulders and chest muscles. Let’s show them some love!
1. Extend your right arm to the side and externally rotate it (inside of arm up).
2. Tip your head gently to the left and feel a nice stretch on the right side. You can just stay here and breathe if it feels good.
3. Start slowly tipping your chin front to back, while still keeping your head tilted to the left. Do not make full circles with your head!
Try 8-10 reps on each side. As always, make it feel good.
Put your hands out in front of you, like you’re about to put them on your keyboard. Notice how they’re slightly cupped? How many times a day do you fully extend and flex your hands flat?
If you want to maintain full range of motion in your hands, here’s a simple move you can do every day:
– Hold your hands up next to your shoulders, with your palms facing forward (like you’re about to give 2 high-fives). Stretch your fingers wide.
– Now, take one finger at a time and tap it to your palm. As you do each finger, try to keep the other fingers as upright as possible.
– Work your way through each hand several times.
Imagine living most of your life with shoes on your hands. How well would your fingers move?
Of all the muscles and bones in your body, roughly 1/4 of them are below your ankles! Constantly cramming your feet into shoes stymies their movement and can take a toll on your mobility…
Bring some life back to your feet by taking a few minutes every day to train your toes. Here’s how:
- Press your feet flat on the ground and try to lift your big toe – without lifting any other toes. Relax.
- Next, press your big toe to the ground and try lifting all the other toes – keeping your big toe on the ground. Relax.
- Repeat several cycles of this at least once a day.
P.S. Restoring toe mobility isn’t just about taking care of your feet. It can help alleviate pain all the way up your body: knees, hips, back, shoulders and neck…
Chest & Shoulder Opener
It’s nearly impossible to avoid hunching your shoulders when you work at a screen. And it’s nearly impossible to avoid working at a screen!
So why not learn some moves to counteract all the hunching?
– Cross your arms over your chest and gently round your upper back.
– Slowly begin to open up your arms to a goalpost position while gently arching and lengthening the upper back, tilting your head back slightly.
– Try to get taller as you open up, so you’re expanding your vertebrae, not crunching them together.
– Return to start, crossing arms the opposite way. Repeat for as many reps as feels good.
Whether you spend too much time clutching a smartphone or lots of hours doing chaturangas (or both!), your forearms and wrists likely need some love. We’ve got you!
– Bring your palms together in front of your heart, like a “prayer” or “namaste” position.
– Gently push your hands together as you slightly raise your elbows, feeling a comfortable stretch.
– Keeping your wrists and elbows where they are, slowly rotate your fingers away from your body and try to point them towards the floor.
– Enjoy the stretch as you move through this rotation several times
This one feels SO good, you might find yourself doing it several times a day…
– Place a tennis ball under the pad of your foot, right between your big and second toe. Keep your heel on the floor and slowly sink your weight onto that foot. It should feel good, but never painful.
– Slowly start to roll your foot right to left, so the ball is passing back and forth across the ball of your foot. Keep as much pressure as feels good. The key is to move slowly, to help loosen all the fascia and muscles down there.
– Next, you’re going to do the same thing, except moving front to back (so the ball is rolling from the ball of your foot to the heel).
– Do it for as long as feels good, and then repeat on the other side.
The alarm goes off. You roll over to grab your phone and stare blearily at the bright screen. Ever noticed it takes your eyes a minute to focus on the glowing text? Welcome to the digital age, where we all suffer from eye strain.
If you want to protect your eyesight, there are exercises you can do to help!
The 20-20 Rule:
For every 20 minutes you spend looking at a screen, spend 20 seconds looking at an object 20ft away.
Simple… and super important!
Look at a wall at least 8ft away from you. Pretend you’ve suddenly acquired the power to shoot lasers out of your eyes and use them to write some messages on the wall.
“Write” for 15-20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 3-4 times in a row. This is a great way to stimulate the smaller, weaker muscles of your eye.