These stretches and yoga poses will help if you find yourself feeling stiff or holding tension in your body the more time we spend indoors.

As we settle into a more sedentary lifestyle, thanks to self-isolation and social distancing, most of us won’t be practising our best ergonomic selves. That is, you might be finding your neck, shoulders or back feeling stiff after a day working at your desk, or simply being inside more than usual. With gyms shut down and classes cancelled, now is the time to teach yourself some basic stretches.

Shoulder stretch

Take your arm across your body. Wrap your other arm up over it and pull in towards your body and hold for around 15 seconds. This releases the shoulders, the rear delts (the muscles that comprise of the rounded corner of the shoulder) and the rotator cuff area. It’s great for people who are spending a lot of time hunched over their desk.

Neck and scalene stretch

Tilt your head to one side and then, using the hand of the side you’re tilting towards, pull down from the opposite side of the neck. Be sure you’re doing it gently because there’s a lot of sensitive muscles in the neck. If you’re pulling too hard, you’ll be doing more harm than good, so take it slowly. Do both of your sides, holding the pose for 15 seconds. This is good for tension relief, headaches and shoulder pain.

Standing side stretch

Standing up, put your arms above your head and then lean over to one side. For this stretch, rather than holding it for a certain time, hold for a few deep, slow breaths. This is a really intense stretch, so you don’t want to force it, but simply enjoy the feeling of destressing. This standing side stretch is great for the muscles that run either side of your back, helping release built-up tension.

Be sure to be moving about every hour, even if it is simply getting up from your chair and walking around inside for a few minutes. Shake out your arms and legs after sitting for too long and breathe deeply through each stretch.

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