Ever feel scrunched down by gravity, work, or life in general? These two similar stretches are super great for people who bend over a lot, sit often, have one leg they tend to put their weight on, have one arm they tend to use for the same tasks, and/or have back, hip, or knee pain.
Screw in the Light Bulb:
This stretch is so adaptable, you can do it almost anywhere. It’s best done standing so you can get your legs involved, but if you’re busy sitting you can still benefit the upper part of your body. Simply reach up with one hand and try to screw in the light bulb that’s hanging above you almost just out of reach. Did you know it was hovering there all along? You can only reach it if you stretch your arm up as far as you possibly can. While you strain with your hand, arm, shoulder, all the way down to your toes to get it, that whole chain of tissue will get a nice stretch in a direction it doesn’t get to go a lot (unless your job is to work with light fixtures).
Reach for the light bulb as long as you feel like it takes you to screw it in. Make sure to give both arms a chance, and once it’s nice and tight in its socket, maybe you’ll suddenly have an awesome brainwave…
Side Bend Stretch:
This stretch takes the Light Bulb stretch one step further. Start by standing with both feet hips width apart. For the right side, slowly swing your right arm up and stretch it over to the left, over your head. Meanwhile, push your right foot into the ground so you are stretching in two directions–through your hand and through your foot. Your left hand can just hang at your side.
Pay attention to whether you start leaning forward or backward. Try to keep stretching your arm directly over your body, though playing with different angles can help incorporate different muscle fibers into the stretch.
There’s no need to stretch to the point where you topple over. A slow, gradual lengthening will stay in the tissue longer than if done hurriedly and forced. As always, it’s better to stretch muscles that are warm, so try to move around a bit, take a hot bath, or get a massage first. Both of these stretches are great to do in the middle of a bout of weeding, after doing a load of laundry, during a spell of computering, or at a rock concert.