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Motion is Lotion

Motion is Lotion

So you are stuck at home and feeling a little cabin fever?  A great way to combat stress is to get your move on.  Gentle exercise from walking and stretching can help circulate your blood, release endorphins, and improve your mood.  Below are some helpful ideas to try:

Take A Walk

Try taking a 30 min walk two times a day. It’s a beautiful time of year in Austin.  Bluebonnets are in bloom, fresh rain cleans the air, the temperature is usually a perfect 75 degrees, and the mosquitoes aren’t a nuisance yet.  Enjoy it while we have it!

Take Deep Breaths

Diaphragmatic breathing (also known as belly breathing) is a great way to dial down tension and relax our bodies. This link explains how and why.

Follow Virtual Exercise Programs

There are some wonderful apps and virtual programs available for gentle exercise. These can range from chair/standing exercises for seniors to Yoga and strength training programs for all age ranges.

Fix Your Work Station

If you are finding your new normal is working from home and your office consists of you sitting on your couch with your laptop or using a TV tray as a desk, then you might want to consider adjusting your work space.  Posture is very important especially if you are sitting for long periods of time at a computer.  Learn more about posture here.

How Should I Sit?

Your chair should allow for adequate lumbar/spine support and your knees and hips should both be at a 90 degree angle with your feet firmly supported on the floor.

If you find this not to be the case, try making these adjustments:

  • Place a pillow behind your back to give you improved trunk support. Your back should be relaxed into chair back – not strained with leaning forward.
  • Adjust the height of your chair by raising/lowering the seat or putting a stool under your feet.
  • Keep your shoulders and arms relaxed to decrease tension in your neck and shoulders.
  • Try to have your computer screen at eye level – you may need to place a book or binder under your laptop.
  • Don’t sit for longer than 45 minutes at a time.
    • Get up and move around. Go grab a glass of water or walk up/down your stairs.
    • If you can, take phone calls standing.
    • Humans are not designed to sit for long periods of time. This increases strain through our muscles and ligaments/tendons which can lead to pain.

“Motion is Lotion” – This is the sign posted in my physical therapy room.  Find something that gives you enjoyment and makes your body move.  You will feel better and your body with thank you for it.

Written by Alison Gallup, PT, DPT, OCS

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