October 16th is World Spine Day. This year, the theme is Move Your Spine. Regular physical activity and movement of the body and spine play a crucial role in supporting musculoskeletal health for the average Canadian. Here are three stretches to help #MoveYourSpine
Here are three stretches to help #MoveYourSpine.
Stretch 1: Cat-Camel Stretch
The cat-camel stretch helps improve spinal flexibility, promotes joint mobility in the entire spine, and stretches the muscles of the back.
- Begin on all fours, with your hands aligned under your shoulders and knees aligned under your hips.
- Start by arching your back upward while breathing out through your mouth, tucking your chin toward your chest, and rounding your spine like a scared cat and pulling your belly button in towards your spine. Hold this position for a couple seconds.
- Slowly reverse the movement by lowering your belly towards the floor, lifting your chest and tailbone upward, and looking up towards the ceiling while breathing in through your nose.
- Repeat this fluid back-and-forth motion, alternating between the cat and camel positions for several repetitions.
Stretch 2: The Chest Opener Stretch
The chest opener stretch helps counteract poor posture, relieve tension in the chest and shoulder muscles, and promote better upper body alignment.
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and your shoulders relaxed.
- Interlace your fingers behind your back, or if more comfortable, hold onto a towel or strap.
- Gently squeeze your shoulder blades together as you straighten and lift your arms away from your body.
- Keep your chest lifted, and if possible, slightly tilt your head back to deepen the stretch.
- Hold the stretch for a few seconds, feeling the opening in your chest and shoulders. For an advanced stretch, keep your knees straight and lean forward until you feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings.
- Release and repeat the stretch for several repetitions.
Stretch 3: Rainbow Rolls Stretch
The “Rainbow Rolls” stretch is great for bringing blood flow to neck and shoulders that get stiff from prolonged sitting.
- Sit comfortably on a chair with your feet touching the ground and your hands in your lap.
- Slowly tilt your head to bring your left ear to your left shoulder. Hold for 10-20 seconds.
- Slowly tilt your head in the opposite direction to bring your right ear to your right shoulder. Hold for 10-20 seconds.
- For a deeper stretch, you can use your hand to guide your head as you relax your neck muscles