back stretches if in a chair in the office

Health: 4 Work From Home Back Stretches

Back stretches for long term health and success

Welcome to 2023!  This is probably not the topic you expected, and most sales blogs will be about motivation, the new year, and how to get after it! Those will come soon. Some of my articles are about having your body mind and soul ready to sell.   And let’s face it, in any job today, you are typically spending long hours staring at the screen or doing remote meetings.  This can lead to sore neck and shoulders and promote horrible posture.

You’ve got to take care of yourself first to have the foundation to excel and succeed. If you’ve ever known anyone with a back problem, it can stop you in your tracks, take away your lifestyle make it impossible to do work, and just change your life entirely. Head and neck tension can lead to headaches and other problems. Over the past few years we’ve become sedentary, and stuck in our chairs staring at a screen. Hopefully, the days of selling in the field and visiting customers, attending trade shows, and going out on the town will come back in full force. I see it happening slowly but surely.  Taking care of your back daily can , with just a simple few stretches per day, help avoid back issues. So, while you’re sitting working at your desk do yourself in your back a favor, and at least once a day do some preventative care, and do these stretches. You’ll notice quickly that the tension in your back, neck and shoulders will be gone and you’ll be loose and ready for the road ahead.

The Wall Angel or “VW” Stretch

This is my favorite exercise because it’s simple to do, and I can feel it on the exact muscles they get tight in my upper back and neck. Do this a few cycles and you get a sigh of relief, and you can feel the tension go away from your back.

The standard form of the exercise involves performing it with one’s back against a wall. You can use the wall as feedback to keep your back straight and your arms from flailing.

  1. To do this, place your back against a wall and move your feet 6-12 inches away from it, bending your knees slightly.
  2. Put your flat back against the wall and lean back slightly so that your pelvis is tilted backwards.
  3. Put the back of your head up against a wall while tucking your chin in slightly to increase the stretch to your neck.
  4. Reduce the distance between your shoulder blades and your ears.
  5. Raise your arms so that they form a 90-degree angle with your body (The ‘W’), and rest the backs of your hands, elbows, and shoulders against the wall.
  6. Now, move up the wall while moving your arms up flat against the wall to form a ‘V’. Slide back down into the ‘W’ position.

Here is a great video on the wall angel:

The Reacher (Not Jack)

I’ll just call this the “Not Jack” stretch.  It’s a simple one and is done while standing.

  1. Stand with good posture, with your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Reach for the ceiling and extend your reach until it feels like you were on a medieval rack, until you start to feel your back vertebrae start to open up (I know they don’t really open, but that’s what it feels like) and continue to hold your reach.
  3. Continue in that stretched state and arch your back slightly towards the rear in a reverse C, until you feel more separation in your lower back.
  4. Hold that position for a few seconds and then relax your back and go back to normal posture with your hands still in the air.
  5. Do this reach and backwards arch five or six times and hold for three seconds at maximum reach. Don’t curve too far backward, you just want a slight curve stretch.

The Cat-Cow

This yoga exercise is fantastic for the whole back and neck. You can really feel it through your whole spine and it’s a great stretch. 

  1. Get down on the floor in a tabletop position  (flat back) on your hands and knees, keeping your back straight.
  2. The pelvis should be slowly tipped back to encourage an inward curve in the spine.
  3. Raise your head and take a deep breath in as you do this.
  4. Try to turn your pelvis the other way, which will allow your spine to curve.
  5. For a deeper breath in, try drawing the belly button toward the spine.
  6. Look down slowly and with a lowered head.
  7. Iterate this process several times.

For those of you that want to watch: 

Child’s Pose

I use this one at the end of my routine, to relax and take some deep breaths for a little bit of stress release and meditation. Really just to clear my mind and get back to work.

  1. Get down on your hands and knees (using a yoga mat helps).
  2. Begin with your hands and knees on the floor. Spread your knees so that your legs are apart, but keep your toes together so that your calves form a “V” shape.
  3. With your spine straight, reach your arms forward past your head so that your chest is in between your thighs.
  4. Remain in this position for 30 seconds, remembering to take deep breaths.

Here is a video:

back stretches for work from home

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