Like many people, my job requires me to sit. And sit. And sit. Oh, and stare at a computer screen, too. Sometimes, I find myself emotionally drained because of the lack of movement and circulation.
Keeping a healthy circulation doesn’t only improve your emotional health, it also keeps your immune response active. Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) delves into the mind-body interventions that keep us healthy and happy. It examines how the quality of life is improved by mind-body interactions. Physical interventions are considered alternative medicine or integrative therapies.
Physical interventions encompass the movement of the body. Body movement has many physical and immunological benefits. Body movement increases circulation, heart rate, strengthens muscles, aids in relaxation, and releases biochemical mediators or endorphins. Dopamine and serotonin are the happy hormones that can be created with good circulation.
Physical activity is another outlet for us to release internalized stress. A clinical example of physical interventions being successful was seen in the treatment of cancer patients. According to the research, cancer patients who were physically active had more energy and less distressing symptoms than those who lacked physical activity. It doesn’t have to be intense exercise; walking is actually one of the very best ways to maintain healthy bodily circulation. Stretching is another effective way to keep your body toned and healthy.
One final way to achieve physical activity and proper circulation is progressive muscle relaxation. This technique is helpful for suppressing anxiety. It involves systematically tensing and relaxing muscle groups – even just clenching and unclenching your fists. Even though PNI is a growing framework, it still supports the use of many integrative therapies for cancer patients as seen through physical interventions.
Dr. Axe shares ten stretches for people like me (and you, too, since you’re probably reading this from a computer screen). They’re lifesavers, seriously. I urge you to do them every single day you’re confined to your office desk.
These 10 stretches you can do at your desk will keep you bendy and feeling good. Like yoga … at your desk
- Rubber Neck – Sit up tall and drop your right ear down towards your right shoulder (you don’t have to touch it!) and hold for a few seconds and repeat for the left side.
- Reach for the Stars – Interlace your fingers and reach up towards the sky, as high as you can … keeping your palms facing up towards the ceiling.
- Look Around – Turn your head the left and try and look over your shoulder and hold for a few seconds … repeat on the right.
- Bobblehead – Drop your chin down towards your chest and GENTLY roll your head from side to side.
- Shrugs – Raise both shoulders up towards your ears and hold for a few seconds and release. Repeat a few times for good measure.
- Chest Opener – Bring your hands behind your back, press your palms together, sit up tall and hold for 5–10 seconds.
- Seated Toy Soldier – Sit up tall and extend your right arm all the way up towards the ceiling. Straighten your left leg out and raise it up as you bring your right arm down and try to touch your left foot. Do 8–10 on each side.
- Knee Hugger – With a bent knee, lift your right leg up and grab it with your arms and pull it in as close to your chest as you can. Hold for 5–10 seconds and make sure and do it on the left side, too.
- Reach and Bend – Extend your right arm over your head and reach out as far as you can to the left and gently bend over. Hold for a few seconds and do it the other way.
- Knee Press – This one stretches out the glutes. With your right ankle on your left knee, gently press against the right knee a few times. Of course, after you’re done with the right side, be sure and give the left side some love, too.