Working from home; upper back and shoulder mobility exercises

For many of us this year finds us spending a lot more time working from home. My Pilates class have mentioned they notice more upper body stiffness, tight hips and a stiff lower back. It only takes a few minutes each day to include some mobility exercises into your working day. This may help reduce the risk of back and shoulder pain, headaches and improve mobility and circulation.

It doesn’t have to be the same time everyday if this isn’t realistic with your working day and meetings. However, getting into a habit of performing the exercises everyday, just like brushing your teeth each day would assist in positive healthy behaviours when working from home.

Sitting all day in a sedentary position isn’t good for our posture, weight, heart or immune system. Standing up through the day, having micro breaks for a few minutes, using the stairs, watering the plants, performing 5 minute exercise routines all add up to being less sedentary.

Sitting at a computer affects the alignment of of head putting pressure on our neck and shoulders. Typing continuously can cause rounding of the upper back and stiffness in the shoulders. Sitting in long Zoom or Teams meetings we may be slouching, leaning to one side, crossing our legs all of which affect our posture and risk for back pain. Often when we are working to deadlines or feel under pressure multi tasking we may be breathing from the chest adding to tension in the upper back, neck and shoulders.

Upper back and shoulder mobility exercises:

5 minutes repeat once or twice every day

If you can and want to these are best performed in front of a mirror so you can see how your posture changes!

  1. Stand up, with your feet hip width apart, soften your knees, both feet on the floor
  2. Notice your posture, the position of your head, shoulders and feelings in your upper back
  3. Take a minute to bring your attention to your breathing, notice if you are breathing from your chest. if you can start to take a longer slower deeper breath into your tummy, in through your nose and out through your mouth
  4. On your next breath gently drop your chin to your chest as your breathe out, returning your head back to the start as your breathe in x3
  5. As you breathe out turn your chin to your shoulder gently, breathe in and return x 3 each side
  6. Gently stick your chin out and then draw back towards your neck x 3
  7. Place your hands on your shoulders and draw circles with your elbows backwards. Close your eyes and see if they are equal both sides moving at the same time x 6
  8. Place your palms together in front of your chest. Keeping your hips and lower body still gently rotate your upper body as you breathe out x 3 each side
  9. Open your palms, hands level with chest at your side, finger tips pointing to the ceiling. Breathe in and reach your arms to the ceiling, shoulders relaxed, breathe out draw your shoulder blades down your back, forming a soft V shape between your shoulder blades x3
  10. Place your arms by your side, as you breathe in shrug your shoulder to your ears, as you breathe out roll your shoulders back and down x3

You may find listening to the exercises easier through this podcast.

I hope you find it helpful.

Upper back, neck and shoulder mobility routine

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