Being a teacher myself I know long hours are needed sometimes to complete all the paperwork such as the planning, marking, assessing and not to mention the additional work load of report writing time. Things can get tense and stressful. A healthy body supports a healthy and active mind, but in times of stress, we forget this and can put our own wellbeing and health last. Keeping the body fit and flexible is even more important than ever as we spend long hours in front of the computer, sitting down marking or continually bending down over desks and student’s work stations which can lead to back, neck and shoulder tightness or pain. It’s important to remember to move, stretch your body and fill your lungs with air to re-energise. There are some simple stretches you can do at your desk that can make a real difference in the quality of your daily work. You can perform these stretches on a chair (You may need to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program especially if you have existing injuries).
Sit on your chair with your feet firmly grounded on the floor. Keeping your bottom on the seat, twist your torso to the right side and grasp the back of the chair with your left hand. Inhale and exhale deeply as you gently pull a bit with your left hand to deepen your twist for 10 seconds. Release and gently return to the starting position. Repeat on opposite side. Feel in your back.
Sit with your feet flat on the floor. Lift your right arm up towards the ceiling with your palm facing in. Bend your elbow slightly and reach over your head to the left side of you body. Keep your bottom on the chair, exhale and arch to the left, stretching your right side. Breathing deeply hold for 10 seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat on opposite side. Feel on the side of your body – underarm to hip.
To stretch your neck properly there are six ranges of motion. Sit in your chair and reach to hold the seat with your hands. Hold each stretch for 10-15 seconds. Feel in your neck.
- Chin to chest: slowly lower your chin towards your chest.
- Lean head back: slowly tilt your head back as far as you can gently.
- Ear to shoulder: gently lower your right ear towards your right shoulder.
- Ear to shoulder: gently lower your left ear towards your left shoulder.
- Chin to shoulder: slowly turn your head towards the right.
- Chin to shoulder: slowly turn your head towards the left.
Sitting on your chair, stretch your arms out together in front, rotating so the backs of your hands are together. If this is uncomfortable put your palms together. Bend forward as though you are diving into the water, ensuring you keep your chin to chest.