In 2014, TIME magazine listed the top 10 things that should be done every day to improve quality of life. Exercise ranked number two on the list. However, I’m going to take this a step further and amend this recommendation to include stretching because while the body can need time to recover from some forms of exercise, most healthcare professionals will agree that the average person should (and needs) to stretch daily.
The average person bends forward for a combined total of eight to 10 hours per day. This means that most human beings are in a flexed position performing activities of daily living for more than half the time they are awake. Physiological flexion occurs while doing hair and makeup, driving a car, sitting at work and using the phone (to name a few activities). This level of flexion, or bending, typically promotes a tight chest/shoulder girdle and also tight hips.
To even your day out, try extending your chest and hips by taking a few moments to stretch the following ways:
Chest (pectorals) — In sitting or standing, stretch both arms straight out behind you and lace your fingers together. Extend the back and gently reach both arms away from
the body. Hold the stretch for 15 – 30 seconds. Perform three times.
Anterior hip (hip flexors) — In standing, take a large step behind you with one leg. Keep your back straight, bend the knees and gently lower down until you feel a stretch in the front of the hip of the back leg. Hold for 15 – 30 seconds and repeat on the other side. Perform three times.
To find out more about how to achieve your rehabilitation goals, contact a healthcare professional at Align Wellness Studio.
Kristina Maxwell is a doctor of physiotherapy at Align, a wellness studio with an integrated approach to physical rehabilitative treatments and preventative care.