The Calm in the Quarantine
Since Tuesday, March 17th there have been some significant changes in how we live our lives. Workplaces have shut down. Gyms have shut down. Our normal way of life has shut down. We’ve been forced into a new normal, for the time being. This new normal can create changes we just weren’t ready for while other things may not have changed as much. Whatever the normal, these 10 minutes of stretches to do from home can help us get through the day.
For many, working a desk job and sitting many hours a day can be pretty typical but if working from home is causing you to sit more and move less we’ve got some super helpful, super easy stretches to help you work out those kinks. Whether you need to take a 10 minute break away from your home desk, which might be the kitchen table, or you want to start your morning with some simple mobility, these stretches might be just what you need to bring you some calm in the quarantine.
Before you start, make sure you have a space you can move in. You don’t need a lot of space but check the area around you first. Remove any distractions if you can. Coming from a family of 6 I understand that struggle. Maybe the kids can join you in fact anyone in your house can join you. A mat isn’t necessary, but you can use one of you want. Lastly, having some calming music on definitely helps. If you are looking for playlists you can find me on Spotify as ErynStennesFit. Maybe you’d prefer silence if that’s an option where you are.
The first three movements can be done together or for a short period of time on their own. Whatever you need. Starting with your feet hips distance apart reach your arms and hands up, keeping your shoulders down. Let’s call this mountain. Open up your chest where you heart is pulling your shoulder blades together behind you, like your shoulder blades are give your spine a hug. If you’ve been sitting for a long period of time this will help oppose the slouching over your desk or computer. Take a couple deep breaths here.
If that’s all you need for the moment, excellent. If not, let’s move on.
Forward Fold Stretch
Next, leading with your chest and keeping your back flat, bend at the hips and bring your hands or fingertips to the floor or your shins. We’ll call this a standing forward fold. If you want to use a chair or stool to place your hands on you can do that too. Knees can be slightly bent or straight just make sure they aren’t locked out or hyperextended. This allows you to create space in your low back. Throughout the day gravity works and starts to put compression on our low backs. Sometimes we can stand or sit tilting our hips forward and our bottom back to create additional compression.
This movement can also stretch your hamstrings. Again, feel free to take a couple deep breaths here. You can cross your arms while they hang below your head and move from side to side. Or try alternating soft bends in your knees for a deeper stretch in your opposite hamstring. You might even feel it behind your knees or calves.
Again, if this is all you needed take another deep breath, slowly roll up through your spine and enjoy the rest of your day.
If you would like more, as you inhale bring your feet to the outside edges of your mat. When you exhale, sit your helps between your legs. Since this kind of looks like a frog, that’s what we’ll call this one. Only go as low as feels comfortable with mild tension. Don’t force your hips down. Listen to your body. This will also open up space in your low back and stretch your hips. Sitting for long periods of time get bring lots of tension to our hips. This movement also stretches the calves. While you’re here, gently shift your weight from side to side.
If you’d like, take a deep inhale and as you exhale lift your hips back up to the previous stretch. You can go back through these three movements as many times as you want. Taking three deep breaths in each position. Don’t rush. Try not to look at the clock.
Once you’re comfortable moving through these three position you can add on a fourth movement. Either from your forward fold (second movement) or your frog (third movement), take one leg and step it back placing your back knee on the ground. This is a modified runner’s lunge. You can see three options for this stretch: both hands on the ground, one hand on the ground, or both arms lifted. Feel free to try all three and see where you feel more of a stretch. This will stretch your hip flexors for the leg that is back and can sometimes be felt in that back quad (top of the leg), both inner thighs, or the hamstring of the front leg depending on how tight your leg muscles are. You can try bringing your forearms down to the floor or lifting the back knee off the floor/mat as well.
Taking a couple deep breaths, with every inhale let your body rise a little out of the stretch and with every exhale let your body sink deeper into it. When you’re ready go back through the sequence starting from the beginning, this time placing your other leg back when you get to our runner’s lunge.
You can transition through these four moves as many times as you want, just make sure to do both sides the same number of times. Just make sure to take at least 2-3 deep breaths in each movement before you move on to the next one. Let your body really feel each stretch before moving on.
Heart Opener Stretch
We are almost finished with our 10 minutes of stretches you can do from home. Lastly, before we go back to our regularly scheduled quarantine, take some time in this last position.If you have a yoga block in your house you can use that, a rolled up towel or blanket, or a throw pillow “folded.” Place your item between your shoulder blades with the top at the top of your shoulders. Recline onto the floor or a bed if the floor is not available to you. You may need to readjust your item and that’s okay. Let your arms fall open at your sides or place them on your belly if that is more comfortable. Take time in this position. Let your shoulders and head fall towards the floor and your chest open.
Again, taking deep breaths and letting your lungs and stomach fully expand with each inhale. Try to sit here for a whole song if you’re listening to music. If you’re not, then try to keep your mind focused on your breathing. No rush.
When you’re ready, start by slowly moving your fingers and toes. Then your ankles and wrists. You can turn to one side or the other using your bicep as a pillow. You can even curl your legs in if you’d like and spend some time here before using your opposite arm to push you to a seated position as you exhale. Before you stand up, take some time to recognize how you feel different from when you started. I hope you feel different. I hope this 10 minutes of stretches to do from home helped you find some calm in the quarantine.
Thank you for stretching with me today. I hope you find this helpful and you come back and use it many more times.
About the Author of 10 Minutes of Stretches to Do From Home: The Calm in the Quarantine
Eryn Stennes is a fitness professional in the Twin Cities, MN. She is NETA certified as a personal training, ACE Group Fitness certified and has worked at LifeTime Fitness since 2013. She teaches small group training, group fitness and yoga classes. Eryn is also a Master Trainer and STRONG Tech for STRONG NationTM. She enjoys helping people reach their goals and realizing they are capable of more than they thought. You can read more from Eryn on her blog Inside the Circus.