Are you one of those 20 million people who sit rubbing and massaging their sore neck and shoulder muscles every 2 hours or so? Then this article is a must-read for you! Sitting at your desk all day can literally be a pain in the neck. And not just physically, it can make a huge dent on your pocket too – I have definitely paid more than a couple hundred bucks visiting chiropractors and massage therapists, and while it all provides a temporary relief, it is not a long-term solution. Just like weight-loss is a slow and steady process, eliminating stress from tensed nerves and muscles requires a bit more effort from each of us, but its not hard, and if you spend only 5 minutes every few hours or so, you can prevent those one-time aches and pains from turning into something chronic that will drain you for the rest of your life!
With most of us spending more than 8 hours a day typing away on our desks, its almost impossible to crane your necks, shoulders and upper back. In fact, research has shown that simply sitting too affects these muscles, resorting to tightness and knots which is characteristic of over-stressed muscles. No matter how much I wish I could keep cooking exotic dishes and photographing them for my blog, that’s far from reality, and I know I’m going to be spending several more years working on this desk job which helps pa most of the bills! So after a lot of poking around the internet, I was able to find a video which highlights the importance of Desk Yoga, yes, you read it right – apparently so many people spend their time doing desk jobs and getting chronic aches and pains, that they had to coin a term for the Yogic exercises that help relieve this pain. The nice thing about desk yoga stretches is that you don’t need a lot of space or time to do them, but you can feel the effects right away, perfect for those 5 minute breaks that you already should be taking while at work.
This 4-minute video from GAIAM yoga instructor Rodney Yee can help loosen tight neck and shoulder muscles, relieving stress and increasing blood circulation to the tensed muscles, thereby providing immediate relief to the soreness. And if you don’t know about Rodney Yee already, then let me tell you that Yee is an American New Age yoga instructor who rose to national prominence in the early 1990s when he began starring in a series of Gaiam/Living Arts yoga instructional videos and DVDs, selling in the millions worldwide. Yee has also been featured on calendars, magazines and natural product advertisements, as well as made guest appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, PBS, and elsewhere.
I wish I could have an office like his – a desk placed out in cool fresh air, right beside a lake! But hey, once you get over that pang of jealousy, you’ll appreciate what he teaches you in the video. When I tried it the first time, I could hear a few pops as my sore muscles reacted to this sudden awakening, but slowly it helped me increase blood flow to that area, thereby alleviating tension and pain.
If you carry a lot of your stress in your shoulder and neck area, these quick exercises are a great relief. I have personally started doing them at least 2 times a day, while at work, and I am already experiencing less tingling and soreness. Stretching not only elongates your muscles, it improves circulation, which boosts the way your organs – including your brain – function. Even mild forms of exercise can stimulate endorphins, which are the life of the brain chemistry party: They not only relieve pain, they also lower stress, enhance the immune system and even slow down the aging process. Combined with a regular exercise routine and adequate sleep, these 5-minute exercises will help you feel more energy. For me, just the fact that I was “not constantly in pain anymore” was enough motivation to do these everyday. I urge every one of you to give this a try, whether you do a desk job or not. Its an easy 5-minute plan, and I feel we owe more than this to our body, which works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
I will follow up with a similar article for Back Stretches in the next week, so stay tuned, and take care of your health!