Not only is it important to regularly correct your posture at work but it is also important to incorporate stretches and self-massage. This goes for all working environments, from office jobs, to trades work, and even highly active workers. In this blog series you will find a list of some very useful stretches and massage techniques specifically beneficial for each job type. In this first blog you will find stretches & self-massage tips for the active worker.
The Active Worker
These jobs are so diverse in what type of activity and level is required. It can vary from nurses, to athletes/dancers, health care professionals, sports trainer, and so many more. In this section we will focus on the well-rounded, general stretches and self-massage techniques that all active workplace employees can use. Remember to stretch to wherever is comfortable for you.
If you do lots of walking all day this is a really important one to do. There are many variations to this stretch, but the one we will use is the foot against the wall. If there is no wall near you, please use the standing lunge calf stretch.
Flex one foot against the wall bending the other knee, keep the knee of the leg that you are stretching completely straight. Slowly start to straighten the other bent knee to increase the angle of the foot in the calf stretch.
Open your legs wider than hip width apart, grab your elbows with both hands and slowly bend over to try and touch your toes. Hang there in this position for 10 seconds. Now you can gently, with small movements, swing back and forth and side to side to increase the stretch and provide neural flossing.
Mermaid Oblique Stretch
Not so easy to do at work but perfect for at home. Sit on the ground and make a figure 4. Now to get into position, bend and internally rotate the straight leg in so that both knees are facing the same way. Take one arm up over your head and bend your body over to the “back” leg, hold for 5-10 seconds.
Then push up onto your knee, really trying to push your hips forward to get the most out of this stretch and change to the other arm and lean over to the other side. You should feel the stretch through the side of your stomach muscles, ribs and maybe up to the shoulder and arm.
Self-massage is highly beneficial both physically and mentally, especially if you are highly active at work and are tired and sore after a long day. If you do lots of walking or physical activity at work, here are a few techniques for you.
Not only is it important to have proper footwear but it is also important to care for the muscles in your feet to avoid injuries like plantar fasciitis.
Take your shoe off and grab a massage ball, tennis ball or any soft to firm ball and put it under the arch of your foot. Roll the ball over the whole foot to relieve tension and promote blood flow. Do this mid shift and after work in order to reduce pain from being on your feet throughout the day.
If you’re using your hands all day, use this technique. Grip the base of your thumb and press into the sore spots, hold until the pain settles. Then between all the finger bones, massage and press into the tender areas, you will surely have some trigger points that might cause referral pain.
Please Note: If pregnant, don’t use this technique as there are acupressure points in the hands that can induce labour.
Sit down and place one foot over your other knee. Then with your thumbs massage the flesh, or sore part of your calf muscle in a circular motion. You can also try running your thumb down the length of the calf muscles to increase your range of motion. Jostling of the calf is also useful. Firmly shake the calf with your fingers on either side of your muscle to increase blood flow.
Whether your work is sedentary, active or repetitive, your body needs care. Your muscle pains and aches must not be ignored. With a few of these stretches and self-massage techniques you can look after your muscles at work to reduce tension and pain.
This blog of stretches and self-massage tips for an active worker, lists only a few out of a multitude of stretches. If any of these stretches do not work for your body, please let your massage therapist know and they can give you some other options to try.