A morning back mobility routine to start your day off right

When we’re working from home, it’s easy to go from our bed to our desk (or maybe the couch). Gone are the days when we would at least walk to our cars or trains—or even deign to put on real pants and shoes.

Yet a little shake-up in our morning routine can help us start the day on the right note. “Teaching your body and your nervous system how to move properly first will set the body up for success throughout the day,” says physical therapist Jacob VandenMeerendonck, DPT.

In particular, he recommends focusing on bringing some mobility to the thoracic spine (the part that attaches to your ribs that protects your heart and lungs). “Its primary function is meant to rotate left and right,” he says. “However, with today’s forward-oriented lifestyle (computers, desk work, cell phones) we are seeing this rotation decrease.”

And unfortunately, he explains, when our bodies lose mobility in one area, we tend to compensate. a lot Mobility in other parts of the body. In this case, that could mean the neck, shoulders, or lower back — but those areas were never meant to take that kind of stress.

The good news? You can restore mobility to your upper spine in just a few minutes a day. Dr. Vanden Mirendonck shares these five gentle moves you can do right after waking up. They are taken directly from his app, Dr. Jacob, and require no equipment other than a chair Best of all, they can be done in exactly the time it takes to make your coffee.

1. Seated Thoracic Reach Up

  • Sit on the edge of a chair, knees slightly wider than hips.
  • Grasp your left knee with your right hand, then raise your left arm straight up to the ceiling, pointing at your fingers.
  • Switch back and forth between both sides for 10 reps each.

2. Seated Chest: Reach-back

  • Either sitting still in a chair or sitting cross-legged on the floor, grasp your left knee with your right hand.
  • With the left elbow forward, extend that arm behind you, round your back and look at your fingers.
  • Repeat 10 times on that side, then switch to the other side.

3. Tripod for thread-the-needle reach

  • Place the knee on the floor with your left knee and hand and plant the right foot flat on the ground, turning the foot to the side so that your right inner thigh is facing forward.
  • Thread the right arm through the space between your left knee and hand, rotate your chest to the left, then pull up and reach it up to the ceiling, allowing your chest to open to the right. Aim to create a straight vertical line between the hands and look at the upper arm.
  • Repeat 10 times, then switch to the other side.

4. Classic thread-the-needle

  • Start on hands and knees, then thread your left hand between your right knee and hand.
  • Allow your head and left shoulder to rest gently on the floor. Keep your hips over your heels.
  • Switch sides, and go back to do 10 repetitions on each side.

5. Standing archers

  • Lunge with right foot forward, bend both legs slightly, lift back heel and reach straight arms forward from chest.
  • Pull your right elbow back and allow the torso to follow, until you’re in the position you would be if you were drawing a bow and arrow.
  • Repeat 10 times, then switch sides.

Watch Dr. VandenMeerenden demonstrate each of the five steps here:

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