Let’s face it we all hate doing the stretches and exercises we are given at the end of treatment (myself included) and the reality is, most of us do them a couple of times with the best of intentions then loose motivation. The last thing you feel like doing at the end of a long day is your ‘homework’. BUT they are massively important. As therapists, there is a lot we can change in a session but it’s what you do every day in between that really has the power to create lasting change and maximise the benefit of your treatment.
Seated Gluteal Stretch How: sitting upright on your ‘sit bones’ cross one leg over the other. For some people this will be enough of a stretch, but if you want to increase it, slowly tilt your pelvis forward and gently push down on your knee. As with all stretches this should be a challenge but never painful.
Why: your gluteal muscles feed into your sacrum and lower back. This is a great way to reduce lower back pain…something we see every day in clinic.
Hot Tip: I do this stretch while writing my notes or reading documents. If it is comfortable, tuck your leg under your desk and use the desk to increase the stretch. Hold this for 30sec to a few minutes, within your tolerance.
Seated Gluteal Exercis How: you can do this one with or without a stretchy band; it’s a great work out either way. All you have to do is squeeze your glutes to abduct your knees. Repeat about 10 times. This sounds easy, but trust me you will feel this the next day! Why: our glutes get lazy when we sit on them all day. That equates to poor control when walking or running, predisposing our hip, knees and ankles to injuries. It all starts from your glutes, so start working them! (plus this is awesome for getting ready for beach ;-)
Hot Tip: I try and do a couple of sets a day. Try squeezing and holding the contraction for 5 seconds before releasing.
Chest Stretch How: find a patch of wall and ease yourself into this stretch. Try and hold it for 20-30 seconds. Be careful not to arch your back when you do this, so make sure you engage your core.
Why: look around you…does everyone look slouched with round shoulders? A lot of that is down to tight pectoral muscles. Not only does this give you bad posture, but it also pulls your shoulder forward into the joint space. If left unaddressed this commonly leads to shoulder impingement and pins and needles in the arms.
Hot Tip: I try and do these while I am waiting for the jug to boil at morning or afternoon tea. That helps create a habit and gets me away from my desk for a while.