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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Airplane and Office Stretches


Being sedentary for extended periods of time increases the risk of blood clots. Whether you're working in an office, riding on a train, or flying off into the sunset, increase circulation throughout your body, relieve muscle tension, and help prevent blood clots by taking time to do these simple stretches every hour.

Most of these activities can be done in a seated position but I've included some standing stretches as well. Perform each activity slowly and gradually, and do not bounce while you stretch. Hold each position for 15 seconds.

Neck Stretches
  • Gently rotate your head from side, looking over your right shoulder, then over your left shoulder. 
  • While looking at your right shoulder, move your left ear closer to your chest.
  • While looking at your left shoulder, move your right ear closer to your chest. 
  • Flex and extend your neck, looking up, then down.

Shoulder Rolls
  • Gently roll your shoulders backward, making circles in the air.
  • Gently roll your shoulders forward.

Shoulder Stretch
  • Clasp your hands behind your head and gently extend your elbows back as far as they will go.

Arm Rotations
  • Rotate your wrists in a clockwise direction, drawing circles in the air with your finger tips, then in a counter-clockwise direction. 
  • Rotate your elbows in a clockwise direction, drawing circles in the air with your hands, then in a counter-clockwise direction. 
  • Rotate your arms at the shoulders in a clockwise direction, drawing larger circles in the air with your hands (or with your elbows if you don't have room to extend your arms). Repeat in the counter-clockwise direction.

Arm Stretches
  • Raise your right arm above your head. Bend your elbow, bringing your right hand toward your right shoulder. Place your left hand on your right elbow and gently pull it toward your head. Repeat with the left arm.
  • Clasp your hands together and turn them inside out in front of you with your palms facing outward. Extend your arms in front of you as far as possible, pushing your shoulders forward, rounding your back, and pulling your belly button in toward your spine. 

Torso Rotations
  • In a standing position, place your hands on your hips. Keep your shoulders and feet stationary while you and rotate your hips clockwise, bending at the waist and drawing circles in the air with your hips. 
  • Repeat in the counter-clockwise direction.

Torso Stretches
  • Clasp your hands, palms facing outward, and extend your arms above your head. Reach as high as possible, lifting your shoulders up and lengthening your spine. Then gently lean back, extending your arms back as far back as comfortably possible and arching your back until feel the stretch in your abdomen.
  • In a seated position, cross your right knee over your left leg. Place your left hand on your right knee. Gently rotate your shoulders to the right and your hips to the left. Repeat on the other side.

Lower Back Stretch
  • In a seated position with your knees shoulder-width apart, bend forward and stretch your arms out in front of you and toward the floor, reaching as far out as possible. 
  • In a standing position, bend at the waist and reach for the ground, stretching your arms out as far as possible. 
  • Remain in the same position while you reach to the right, extending your arms out as far as possible until you feel the stretch in your left hip. Then reach to the left, extending your arms out as far as possible until you feel the stretch in your right hip.

Leg Rotations
  • In a seated position, lift your right leg off the floor and rotate your foot, drawing circles with your big toe in the air in a clockwise direction. Repeat in the counter-clockwise direction. 
  • Keep your thigh as still as possible and rotate your right knee, drawing circles with your heel in a clockwise direction. Repeat in the counter-clockwise direction. 
  • In a standing position, keep your leg straight and draw circles with your foot in a clockwise direction. Repeat in the counter-clockwise direction. 
  • Repeat on the left side.

Leg Stretches
  • In a standing position, lean forward slightly and hang on to a solid surface with both hands. Extend your right foot back, straighten your leg, and lean forward until you feel the stretch in the back of your leg. 
  • Bend your knee until you feel the stretch in the lower part of your calf muscle. 
  • Return to an upright position and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your right leg straight and lean to the left, bending your left knee, until you feel the stretch inside your right thigh. 
  • Grasp your right foot with your right hand behind your back and gently pull until you feel the stretch in the front of your right thigh. 
  • Repeat with the left leg.

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