Sedentary roles: Helpful shoulder and wrist stretches

These exercises are not suitable if you have any known inflammation, pain or serious joint damage.

Always speak with your doctor before attempting new stretches or treatments. If you are experiencing any pain currently its important to determine the exact cause of your shoulder or wrist pain first.

Shoulder Stretches 

Desk angels

  • Sitting straight in your chair with perfect posture, place your arms at shoulder level with a 90-degree bend in your elbows.
  • Keeping your head and torso stationary, slowly move your arms overhead, reaching your hands toward the ceiling. Try to keep your arms in line with your ears as you move up to the ceiling and slowly back to the starting position.
  • You should feel some pulling in your midback, which helps to relax your spine.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Shoulder rolls

  • Keep your back straight and your chin tucked in.
  • Roll your shoulders forward, up, back, and down in a circular motion.
  • Repeat 10 times, then reverse.

Upper Traps stretch

  • Sitting with your back straight, tilt your head sideways toward your shoulder.
  • For a larger stretch, drop your shoulder blade on the opposite side toward the floor.
  • Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat twice on each side.

Cross Body Shoulder Stretch

  • Stand with the feet hip-width apart.
  • Stretch the right arm out straight.
  • Bring the right arm across the body, so that the hand points to the floor on the other side of the left leg.
  • Bend the left arm at the elbow.
  • Hook the left forearm under the right arm, supporting the right arm above the elbow.
  • Use the left forearm to pull the right arm further in and across the body, stretching the back of the right shoulder.
  • Hold this for 20 seconds, then repeat the stretch on the other side.

Shoulder stretches have numerous potential health benefits. Stretching can:

  • reduce tension
  • relieve pain
  • increase mobility
  • reduce the risk of muscle and joint injury
  • improve posture

Wrist Stretches 

Practicing simple wrist exercises can help prevent injury. Exercises can strengthen your wrists and keep your hands and fingers flexible.

Always speak with your doctor before attempting new stretches or treatments. If you are experiencing any pain currently its important to determine the exact cause of your wrist pain first.

Wrist Flexor and Extension exercises

  • Stand with one arm out in front of you and your palm facing the ground.
  • With your other hand, gently pull your fingers of the outstretched arm back. You should feel the stretch in the underside of your wrist.
  • Hold for a moment or two, then release.
  • Next, keeping your arm straight, use your other hand to push your fingers and palm down and toward your body. Hold a few seconds, then release.
  • Repeat with your other arm.

Praying position stretches

  • While standing, place your palms together in a praying position. Have your elbows touch each other. Your hands should be in front of your face. Your arms should be touching each other from the tips of your fingers to your elbows.
  • With your palms pressed together, slowly spread your elbows apart. Do this while lowering your hands to waist height. Stop when your hands are in front of your belly button or you feel the stretch.
  • Hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, then repeat.

Fist Pumps

  • Begin either seated or standing. Bend your elbows so that your hands are in front of your chest, facing away from you.
  • Curl your hands into fists and squeeze tight. Hold for 3 seconds.
  • Then, open up your palms and spread your fingers wide so that you feel a stretch and circulation flow in. Hold for 3 seconds.
  • Repeat 5 times.

Wrist circles 

  • Start in a tabletop position with your wrists underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Engage your abs.
  • Then, one at a time, rotate your hand and forearm outward until your fingers are pointing out to the side with your palm on the ground. Bring the inside of both wrists to touch and spread your fingers wide.
  • Keep your fingertips pressing into the ground and slowly begin making circles going clockwise.
  • Repeat 5 times, then go counterclockwise 5 times.

Trying these exercises once a day will help strengthen the wrist and shoulders and e

You can do it!

I am sharing this beautiful note from one of my clients. She trains as part of a small group with me once a week. I challenged them in January to target a 5k run on 6th March. There was no pressure to run it. Just train and attend on the day and see what happened. Either way it would be an achievement. I am so proud of this group of previous non-runners. They showed up, had fun and crossed that finish line with a smile on their faces.

..and this is what she said

After the excesses of a fun-filled Christmas, my fitness class decided we needed a goal to help us focus on getting back into shape. We all signed up for a 5km fun run in early March which gave us roughly six weeks to train for it. I certainly would not describe myself as a runner, of any distance for that matter, so the thought of completing a 5km run was very daunting.

During our fitness class, Ciara helped to keep us fit with cardio workouts, and despite the miserable January weather, we headed out to run a few laps around the local park, each session increasing our distance to close the gap to 5km.

Now, the 5km run may not be a challenge for many. However for me, having first started with Ciara with “a dodgy knee” and a declaration that “I’m not a runner”, running any distance seemed almost an impossible task.

The day of the run was beautiful, sunny and bright, and the drive down to Carlow was fun (we had chosen a run outside of Dublin so to be sure not to bump into anyone we knew). All along though, I was nervous, lacking confidence in my ability to run the distance, completely out of my comfort zone as we were all pinning on our numbers to be timed for the race. As the race started and we ran past the starting line, all my thoughts were with my three boys who train hard for their clubs, be it rugby, athletics or GAA. My eight year old tried his very best running at the indoor championships the previous week, and if he can succeed by finishing strong by running his very best, then I could follow his example. At any point where I felt like taking a “little break” especially when the course got tough heading uphill, I thought back to my eldest who trains and plays in all sorts of weather conditions for his school and club. It really was my turn to learn from them, to be motivated by their commitment to exercise. I wanted the boys to see that I can train for a race and to complete it, to run when I said I couldn’t, to finish it without taking a break. I wanted them to be proud of their mum.

So my time wasn’t the fastest – 5km in just under 35minutes – but I was so happy to cross the finish line and was lovely to have a friendly face, Ciara, greet me at the very end! What a fabulous feeling, to have achieved something that seemed so unattainable. Needless to say, my first call was to my family – a FaceTime call to let them all know “I did it! I ran it without stopping!”

 

Set yourself up for success

Well, I travelled to hell and back last week, Ireland’s largest obstacle course run, in the beautiful Kilruddery Estate. The course did not beat me and I made it back relatively unscathed. I was lucky enough to have my 3 wonderful boys and my husband with me. We clambered over 10ft walls, waded through swamps and rivers, crawled through electric shock runs and submerged ourselves in ice baths. For what? I asked myself this several times on the 7km course – was it for the challenge? to spend time with those I love? just for the sheer hell of it? Whatever the reason what really struck me through the course was the importance of teamwork and support. We worked together as a team…no man or woman or child was left behind. What was more, strangers helped strangers and everyone collectively made sure that their fellow participants made it back. We finished the course feeling triumphant and exhilarated. It got me thinking about how important it is to surround yourself with people who will encourage and support you when you are making some positive health changes.

Last month I spoke about Autumn being a time for change. Change takes time. Making a decision to change some of your behaviours and habits to eat well and exercise is a life changing move. It takes practice for those new habits to become routine. Sometimes it is difficult to maintain that enthusiasm you had in the beginning.

Set yourself up for success. Surround yourself with people who will support your health goals. Tell them about the changes you are about to make. If you are finding it tough, it is those people who will lift your spirits, encourage you and reignite your motivation. You never know they might decide to join you!

Take small steps, create new habits, celebrate successes and enjoy every moment. There is no greater more worthwhile goal than health. Supporting friends and family will help make your health goals become a reality.