Experts recommend that those of us working at our desk for long periods of time be sure to take mini-breaks to save our hands and back. Below is a description of a corner stretch, recommended by the American Physical Therapy Association. Corner stretches target the muscles of the chest (pecs) for a stretch, and they will work your upper back muscles, as well as those under the shoulderblade. Corner stretches make a good movement to counter postural problems such as kyphosis.
Time Required: 2 minutes
- If you have a back, shoulder, wrist or neck injury, condition or pain, ask your doctor if this exercise is appropriate for you. This article only describes how to do this exercise; it does not recommend that you do it. Only your medical professionals can tell you if you should.
- Stand facing a corner. Your posture should be upright and straight, in a relaxed way. Your head should be upright, with your gaze straight forward. Keep the feet parallel to one another.
- Inhale, then exhale and gently pull your stomach toward your spine. Keep your gaze forward, with your chin slightly tucked. Bend your knees slightly, to keep unnecessary tension away from the posture of this exercise.
- Place your forearms and palms on either wall at approximately shoulder level. Inhale again, then exhale and lean yourself toward the wall. Just go to the point where it feels challenging, yet causes no pain or discomfort. Hold there for between 5-30 seconds, then bring yourself back to start. This exercise is like doing a push-up at the wall.
- Point to remember #1: The distance you establish from the wall will be determined by the strength of your shoulder and upper back muscles. You can experiment until you find a distance that allows you to maintain an upright, relaxed posture, but still challenges those old shoulder and upper back muscles when you perform the exercise.
- Point to remember #2: When you do this exercise, you will benefit from monitoring the posture of your entire body as you go. This is especially true of the hips. The hips should remain straight -- they should not flex or bend to help you accomplish the movement. If you need help, just walk your feet in toward the wall a little, instead.
Moffat, Marilyn, P.T. Ph.D. and Vickery, Steve. The American Physical Therapy Association Book of Body Maintenance and Repair. Owl Books. Henry Holt and Company, LLC. New York, New York, 1999. Stretch and Reach p.236
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