We talked about doing things to improve our posture, but now let's talk about what to do when you realize you haven't been sitting so straight. During stressful times we tend to hunch our shoulders, stick our heads out and tense our muscles. I especially find myself doing this as I study for big tests or spend hours at my computer writing papers. So here are some stretches to do to help you loosen up! I try to take a break at least once every hour, sometimes more if I find myself really tense, and I do some of these stretches. I promise it makes such a difference!
Back Rotations: These rotations help loosen the muscles around your spine. An easy way to do this is to stand in a door way about a foot away from the door frame, then rotate and grab the frame with both hands. Make sure you keep your feet flat and breathe out as you do it. And rotate to both sides!
Shoulder Rotations: This is probably my favorite. The key is to do exaggerated shoulder rotations in both directions. Be sure to do them slowly and at least 5 or 6 times in both directions. Then when you are done, let your shoulders sag all the way down to really let them relax.
Neck Rotations: To loosen up neck muscles, try this exercise. Sitting or standing tall, lean your head to your right shoulder so your ear is almost touching it. Then sag the opposite arm until you feel a stretch in your neck, and hold it for at least 10 seconds. Repeat this on the other side and you should feel a difference.
There are lots of other stretches to do for your back, shoulders and neck, but these are just a few to start with. Feel free to try some new ones if you are still feeling stiff!