Your health and fitness is impossible to ignore with the media spotlight on it daily. Being healthy and fit should be a lifestyle that you can easily fit into your daily activities so that it becomes part of your everyday routine instead of a chore. You can swap your office chair for a stability ball to make you more aware of your posture and also train your core muscles. When you go to fill up your water bottle or boil the kettle you can do single leg heel raises with your fingertips on the counter for support. Instead of the lift always take the stairs. The list is endless. Below is a stretching routine that you can do in the office, in your office gear that won’t get you in a puff or sweaty that should help boost your energy.

Ten top to toe stretches:

1. Start with the head: Gently take your ear down to your shoulder both sides, rotate, look down, look up.
2. Shoulders: Shrug them up towards the ears, drop down and push your shoulder blades back & down towards your back pockets.
3. Chest & Upper back: Link your fingers and push your palms out in front of you, bring them up above your head and push to the ceiling. Link your arms behind your lower back and push your breastbone forwards.
4. Lower back: Roll your body down to the floor, roll back up stretch your arms to the ceiling and bend to both sides.
5. Hips: Hug your knee up towards your chest, hold your ankle to your inner thigh and push your knee out to the side, finally pull your ankle up to the opposite hip.
6. Quads: Bend your knee and hold towards your bum with the same side arm, push the knee down towards the floor and your hips forwards.
7. Hamstrings: Bend one knee and put the other leg straight in front of you, scoop your arms down towards the floor. Repeat on the other side by taking a step forwards.
8. Calf’s: Pull your toes towards your nose or lunge and gently push your back heel towards the floor keeping your knee straight.
9. Feet: Stand on your tip toes then lower the heels back down and curl your toes whilst arching the foot up.
10. Finish: Go back to what you were doing, set your posture, close your eyes, make a mental note of turning off each muscle as you scan down your body then turn them on as you scan up, take a deep breath, open your eyes and start your work!

Top Tips:
• Good posture is a lifestyle not a 5 minute exercise, set regular reminders to re-align your body. Try to associate it with something you do regularly e.g. open an email.
• Hold a stretch for a minimum of 20 seconds.
• Don’t bounce; push the stretch gently further with each breath out.
• Deep regular breathing not only helps you stretch but helps you relax your body & mind.
• Repeat a stretch a minimum of 3 times, you’ll see an instant improvement.

Beth Langley
Physiotherapist at Perform St. George’s Park
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