- Heidi Blackie
3 Exercise Snacks for your Spine
What is an exercise snack?
Exercise snacks are short bouts of movement sprinkled into your day.
Movement has benefits that touch every aspect of our being. We are meant to move. It lubricates joints, increases circulation, and has a positive impact on our mood and emotions. For these reasons, it is important to move every single day. Ideally, this is a dedicated practice of regular exercise such as walking, running, skiing, dancing or biking for at least 150 minutes per week.
If you have a sedentary job, it is really important to integrate movement breaks into your workday—even if you work out. I get consistent feedback from clients who feel so much better with the addition of more movement during the day. There are apps like Pomodoro that can be set as a reminder to take breaks.
If you are sitting or standing at a desk, try taking breaks every 30 minutes or at least every hour to move. During your break, move your body for a couple minutes.
Next time you need a pickup, try doing an exercise snack instead of reaching for caffeine or food.
THE SPINE SNACKS
Stand up and move your arms into a big “T” extending your fingers and wrists as you open the front of your shoulders, extend your upper back reaching your collar bones to the sky. Try inhaling as you stretch.
Next, close your arms and tuck your tail while curling your spine forward—as if hugging a big beachball. Try exhaling as you reach forward. Stay in a comfortable range and repeat 10 times.
Rotate your upper torso as you reach behind you. Keep your knees soft and your pelvis facing forward. Next, try some where you let your pelvis follow your torso. Exhale as you rotate and inhale as you come back to center. Perform 5-10 times each side.
Stand tall with your spine stacked. Raise one or both arms above your head if you are able. Gently side bend, trying to spread the movement out along the spine. Think of lifting, as if to round over a ball, on the side you are moving toward. Direct your inhale to the stretched side of your ribcage, then come back up to the center, exhaling and lengthening the spine. Repeat on the other side.
Perform 5-10 times each side.
These exercises will help you stay alert, keep your spine moving and avoid compensatory patterns from working in a static position too long. Not only will you be less stiff when you go to stand up or change position, but you will feel better at the end of the day!
If you need help with your workstation or getting more movement into your day, please reach out. And, let us know if you tried any "snacking" and how it went.