I once worked with a company that required its employees to take “ergo-breaks.” It sounds strange – both the name and the fact that it was enforced by a timer that acted as a kill switch to their computer every hour, on the hour – but the brief pause to step away from writing and get your wiggles out is effective, especially for those of us stuck on our work-in-progress. These easy stretches also get your blood flowing again, relieve physical tension, give you a boost of energy, and increase productivity. So, if that scene has got your teeth clenched in anger, or your shoulders nearing your ears in suspense, give these exercises a try. Heck, you might even want to set an ergo-timer!
- Gently tilt your head to the right, then slowly roll it forward so your chin gets closer to your chest. Continue the movement until you reach the left side, then bring your head back to a level position. Repeat in the opposite direction.
- Bring your shoulders as close to your ears as possible. Hold for a few seconds, and gently release. Repeat five to ten times.
- Give yourself a big ol’ hug, with crossed arms touching the opposite shoulder. Pull tight enough that you feel a slight stretch in your upper back. Then slowly twist from right to left and allow your gaze to follow.
- Hold your arm straight in front of you, with your fingers flexed toward the sky. Use your other hand to pull your fingers back slightly until you feel a comfortable stretch. Repeat, but with your fingers pointing toward the floor. Do this on both arms.
Lower Back Release
- Standing or sitting, place your hands on your lower back, pointed downward. Push your breastbone up toward the ceiling, with your elbows pointed back. Hold this for 10 seconds or so, and repeat.
- I’d avoid this stretch if you’re in public, as you’ll want a clean-ish floor 😊 Kneel on the ground, sitting on your heels with your toes as close together as is comfortable. Widen your knees to be even with your hips. Lean forward, with your arms aligned alongside yourself and your torso, until you feel a nice stretch across your shoulder blades from the weight of your shoulders falling toward the ground. Stay here for 30 seconds to 3 minutes.
Feel better? Performing these exercises daily won’t turn you into Ah-nold, but it should help you feel less like a rigid zombie and more like the writing machine that you are. Now shoulders back, head up, core in, and TYPE!
Work it out,
Courtney Meznarich, Director of Community Outreach