The stress of work and personal responsibilities can feel heavy on your shoulders. That is why we’ve put in together three of the best movements to make life a little lighter on your neck and back, help you shoulder life’s ups and downs, and all your grocery bags at the same time! The benefits of having a supple back and shoulders are many, from good posture to stability and balance!
A Little Anatomy
Your shoulder happens to be the most moveable joint in the body, so it is important to keep it mobile, supple, and strong. The movements of your joint are regulated by muscles, ligaments and tendons. The major areas these movements will focus on are your neck, upper back and shoulders.
Benefits of Exercise
According to a review of studies published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, physical activity is not just an essential prerequisite for improved health, but vital to maintain life. Extra motivation to spend a few minutes each day exercising your body! Because our shoulders hold much of the stress and tension we experience day to day, they are an excellent place to start!
Here are three great stretches to release tension in your neck, back and shoulders.
1. Neck Stretch
Tension in your neck can not only cause poor posture, but also tension headaches!
- Sit in a comfortable position, either cross legged on a mat, or on a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
- Inhale deeply as you tilt your head to the right, bringing your right ear towards your right shoulder. Hold this position for three to five breaths. Exhale as you bring your head back to center.
- Repeat on the left side.
- Remember to be gentle. Do not force the stretch, just do what feels comfortable. In a few days, you’ll find you can stretch further and more comfortably.
2. Swinging Arm Stretch
This is a great movement to release tension in your neck and shoulders and get your torso moving.
- Stand with your feet hip distance apart.
- Breathe deeply and begin swinging your arms gently side to side, allowing your torso, neck and shoulders to also turn from side to side.
- You should feel a gentle stretch along the top of your arms, and your upper and middle back.
- Repeat ten to fifteen times.
3. Shoulder Rolls
This one is great for doing anywhere, you can even stay at your desk!
- Sit or stand with your back straight.
- Slowly roll your shoulders back ten to fifteen times while breathing deeply.
- Slowly roll your shoulders forward ten to fifteen times while breathing deeply.
Remember to start slowly and gradually build up your strength and flexibility. With just a few minutes a day, you can stretch and loosen your back, neck and shoulders, and release all that pent-up tension. Once you’ve mastered these exercises, speak to a health professional or gym instructor to learn more—keep moving and stay healthy!