During this coronavirus pandemic and the resulting lockdown, lack of activity is the new normal. While people working from home move can factor in movement going from their desk to the kitchen, gym goers are lamenting fitness regimens of the past.
Yes, one of the biggest casualties of this lockdown has been physical activity. Because when you’re doing a nine-to-nine at your desk at home, you have very little scope (or energy) to do cardio or yoga afterwards. And with this relatively stationary way of life comes muscle stiffness.
“Whether you love or hate it, exercise is something that is going to strengthen your immune system and improve your mental health, which will not only keep you calm during this frightening time but can also protect you from any kind of infections and viruses,” says Dr Girish L. Bhalerao, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Wockhardt Hospitals, reiterating the importance of working out.
While your work schedule may not necessarily allow you to roll out a mat and get into surya namaskar mode frequently, there are a few things you can do ensure that you keep muscle stiffness at bay and become more agile.
Here are five stretches you can do while you’re working, at your desk, to keep your body moving and thwart muscle stiffness.
1. Neck stretches
Does looking at your laptop screen for hours at an end make your neck hurt? Well, stretch the sides of your neck for some instant relief. Alternatively, do a back neck stretch with these instructions: reach both your hands behind your back and hold on to your right wrist with your left hand. Straighten your arms and pull away slightly. Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds, release, and switch sides.
2. Shoulder stretches
If your tight shoulders are getting you down, then try shoulder rolls and rotations. Another exercise that can help you out is the cow-face pose. Here’s how you can do it: straighten your right arm and then bend it behind your head. Now, take your left arm behind your back while bending your elbow. Try to reach the fingertips of your right hand with your left arm and stretch. Repeat with the other hand.
3. Abdominal stretches
Not only will these stretches help you feel energetic, but they will also keep your belly from popping out. Here is one to start with: the cobra pose (reclining back-bending asana) works on your core muscles and help ease lower back stiffness.
4. Glutes stretches
Show your butt muscles some TLC too by trying the seated spinal twist. Here is how you should go about it: sit on the floor and extend your legs straight in front of you. Bend your right knee and place your right heel close to the sit-bone. Place your right palm on the floor and left arm on your right knee. Now, gently pull the knee to the left till you feel the pressure. Hold for 30 seconds, release, and then repeat with the other leg.
Four easy stretches that require less than 10 minutes of your time—do try them to ease your stiff muscles and feel a little better as slog it out.
(With inputs from IANS Life)