Many don’t realize how often they use their shoulder muscles and the shoulder joints until they have an injury or overall pain in the area. Even if you’re not an athlete, your shoulders are used consciously and unconsciously in nearly every movement — even walking! The good news is that you can eliminate shoulder pain and even prevent injuries with regular stretching. These four stretches are simple enough to work into your weekly routine.
Why does stretching help?
Stretching can provide a variety of benefits to the body — one of those being protection from injury. It keeps the muscles flexible and helps to maintain range of motion. It’s important to note that stretching won’t be helpful if it’s done sporadically. It should be done daily, whether or not you are an athlete.
When you move an inflexible, unstretched body in a way that makes the muscles stretch, it can damage the muscle. Moreover, muscles that suffer injury will also increase the likelihood of a joint injury. Regular stretching will help the body be prepared for whatever you throw at it.
This move is simple enough for most people to be able to do from their kitchen table. To stretch the right arm, place your left hand flat on a table or chair, with your right side away from the table. Bend your body at the hips at about 90 degrees. Shift your weight to the supported side and let your right arm swing side to side and front to back. This stretch should feel good. Switch sides and repeat.
This stretch feels great and can even be done before you rise out of bed in the morning. First, sit at the edge of your bed or in a chair. Place your right hand under your right thigh or buttocks. Next, place your left hand behind your head, at the base of your neck. Gently, pull down, leaning away from the side of the body that’s holding onto the chair or bed base. Repeat on the other side.
For a visual representation of this move, check out our YouTube Channel!
Cross Shoulder Stretch
This is a classic move that will help to relieve tension immediately. This move is best done when standing with your feet hip width apart. Take your right hand and place it on the left shoulder. Cup your right elbow with the left hand. Relax your shoulders downward as you gently pull your right elbow across the chest. Hold for 15-20 seconds and repeat on the other side.
This is a 30 second, pain-free stretch. You should find a chair to sit in for this. Decide which side you want to stretch first, then grab the bottom of the chair on that side with your hand. Let’s say you are wanting to stretch your right scalene. While holding onto the bottom of the chair, tilt your head to the same right side. With your opposite hand feel the right side of your neck. You will feel a bone on the outside part of your neck. Stick your fingers in that bone and stretch away. Once you feel that stretch, rotate left or right. Relax between stretches and repeat 2-3 times, 2-3 times a day.
For a visual representation of this move, check out our video demo.
Stretching everyday is important to your overall health and wellness. For more tips on how to keep your body protected, contact Core today.