“Get moving, wake up and stretch”

Our daily routine should be a mixture of sitting, standing, moving and some moderate exercise. But the pace of life makes it difficult and the sheer pressure of work causes poor posture and tension headaches.  We appear to carry the world on our shoulders and many people will experience stiff necks and poor posture as the years increase.  Sometimes bad posture can be due to bad chairs and seating position or too much sitting down in front of the TV or computer screen.

Help yourself by checking that your chair, desk and worktop is at a good height and in sufficient light. Then check your posture. Sit with bottom well back on the seat and support your back with a cushion or towel if there’s an arch. Have legs slightly apart, knees bent to an angle of 90 with feet flat on the floor (if you’ve short legs a foot rest or block solves the problem.

My exercise plan will help keep you maintain your physical independence and keep your body supple as the years pass.  Make your work out last for 10-15 minutes. The less fit you are the longer you will need to warm up. All your movements should be rhythmic, not jerky.  Doing any exercise to music of a medium speed can make it more enjoyable.

Start your exercise session EVERY DAY with this great wake up and stretch.

To stretch out the entire body.

       wake up monkey stretch

Stand feet shoulder width apart, bend the knees, bend forward from the waist and swing arms down to floor and behind you. Now in a flowing movement straighten knees swing arms forward and high above your head.  Breathe deeply, lift rib cage, straighten up and stretch entire body.  Repeat rhythmically 5 times.

Release tension with the next two simple exercises.

    chicken neck

Sit or stand upright shoulders back, look straight ahead and stick your chin out forward as far as you can.  Keep your chin parallel to the floor.   Now retract and pull your chin back hard, into your neck and upper chest.  Stick chin out again, parallel to the floor, and now pull back hard.   Repeat this chicken like movement 5 times.

Excellent for posture and helping to prevent osteoporosis (fragile bone disease) in the upper spine.  But take extra care if you have neck problems.

To relieve tension headaches and give your eyes a treat 

       Bright eyes

Sit or stand as before and look straight ahead.   Without moving your head, take eyes only to look first to the right and focus, now down and focus, then on left and focus. Finally look up and focus.   Repeat these simple movements 5 times to relieve tired aching eyes.

To release tension and mobilise the neck 

       Head roll

Look over your right shoulder with chin parallel to the floor.   Drop chin to chest and slowly roll head to look over your left shoulder.   Roll chin back to chest and head on over to the right.   Repeat 5 times with control.   Do not roll your head backwards.

 To mobilise shoulder joints

       Shoulder lift

Sit or stand. Lift alternate shoulders up to ear level and press back down again. Don’t take shoulder to ear. Repeat 5 times with alternate shoulders

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