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Stand Tall and Proud


If you sit at a desk for long periods every day you could be losing a crucial few inches from your possible height, as well as setting yourself up for more health problems in the future. The good news is that this can be simply rectified if you perform these exercises in the office as often as possible.

Sorting out your posture is the first step to feeling and looking taller. Bad posture can shorten the spine by several inches. Poor posture can either be caused by structural problems in the middle back where the vertebrae are naturally wedge-shaped, or by functional limitation in the lower back with a rear-tilted pelvis rounding the shoulders significantly, especially when sitting.

Here are two spine-lengthening exercises that will combat the effect of sitting still:

Shoulders forward - Stretch the chest: stand in an open doorway and put both arms on the frame at shoulder height. Keeping the spine straight, step through the door with one foot, and stretch out the pectoral muscles, which are frequently too strong and tight and pull the shoulder forwards.

Shoulders back - Stand up and pull the shoulder blades both together and down to the buttocks. Stand with your chest out for it to be above the lower back and not in front of it and your chin tucked in, while looking straight ahead. Activate your oblique muscles to hold this pose.
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Stretching Guide


Stretches

It is important that after the workout to spend a few minutes stretching. Here is a guide of exercises you may use in your stretching routine:

Upper back For stretching the muscles between the shoulder blades, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend over at the waist approximately 90 degrees, knees slightly bent. Wrap your right hand around your left knee and grab it while the palm and fingers are behind the knee. Keeping your right knee bent, slowly straighten your left leg while lifting your right shoulder straight up to the ceiling. You should feel a powerful stretch in the rhomboid muscles between your shoulder blades. Hold for 30 seconds, then reverse the move to stretch your left side.

Lower back Lie on your back, and draw your right knee to your chest. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat with your left knee, then with both knees simultaneously.

Shoulders Stand with your back to an open door, about 18 inches in front of, and slightly to the left of, the door frame, with your feet shoulder-width apart. Reach with your right arm and grab the door frame at waist level. Lean forward until there is little tension on the arm, then rotate your torso away from that arm and hold that position for 10 to 20 seconds. Straighten up, walk your fingers 6 inches up the frame and do the stretch again. Repeat the exercises five times while increasing the height about 6 inches each time. Move to the right side of the door frame and go over with the left arm.

Chest Standing slightly in front of a door, hold your arms out to your sides at shoulder height. Bend your elbows and place your inner forearms against the door frame. Keeping your arms in this pose, take a small step forward so you feel the stretch in your chest muscles. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then step back into the beginning position, keeping your forearms pressed against the door frame. Press both your elbows against the door frame as if you're trying to put them together in front of you. You should feel a contraction in your chest muscles.

Biceps Stand with your back to an open door, arms at your sides, palms facing forward. Swing your right hand behind you, reaching through the door frame and placing your palm against the wall on the other side. To emphasize the stretch, turn your body slightly to the left. You should feel the stretch in your right arm and shoulder. Hold for 6 to 10 seconds and repeat this sequence 1 or 2 times, then repeat with your left arm.

Triceps Sitting in a chair with your back straight, bend your right elbow and try to touch your right palm to your right shoulder blade. Your elbow should be near your head and pointed straight up at the ceiling. With your arm in that pose, bring your left hand up over your head and wrap it around your right elbow. Now push your right elbow downward, providing resistance with your left hand. Hold for 6 to 10 seconds and perform this three times with your right arm, then three times with the left.

Forearms Get down on all fours. Turn your hands out to the sides 180 degrees, until your fingertips are pointing toward your knees. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds, leaning back in order to increase the stretch.

Abdominals Stay lying on your stomach, arms extended in front of you with your hands shoulder-width apart, palms down. Now slowly lift your shoulders off the ground by pushing yourself up with your arms, arching your back and keeping your pelvis flat on the floor as you rise. If you can, rise up until your elbows are locked. Hold at the top as you slowly exhale, then go back down. Do 10 repetitions and if this is too difficult, try doing the stretching with your forearms flat on the floor.
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The Best Warm-Up


Here is an example of warm up, you can use before the workout session:
Before you start your workout, you need to do some preparation or you'll risk injury as well as be able to make fewer demands of your body – and so get less out. But stretch before you're warm and you can do even more damage. So you need to get blood pumping through the muscles you want to work.

Upper body - Three minutes on the rower or Nordic ski machine, working at 50-60% of your maximum effort level. You should finish slightly out of breath, but nothing more than that. Then do the dynamic stretches.
Lower body - Three minutes on the running or step machine working at 50-60% of your maximum effort level. You should finish slightly out of breath, but nothing more than that. Then do the dynamic stretches.
Outside - If you're miles from any cardio equipment, go for a 2-minute jog and then do the dynamic stretches below.


Warm-up Exercises and Stretches description:
Walking lunge with twist. Stand with your hands clasped against your chest. Step forward with your right foot into a lunge and twist your head and shoulders to the right. Reverse the movement to push back to the starting position, then lunge with your left foot and twist to the left. Perform 10 lunges with each leg.

Overhead squat to calf raise. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms straightened overhead. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground, then push back up and rise onto the balls of your feet at the top of the move. Do 10 repetitions.

Upper body trunk rotation. With your feet shoulder-distance apart, stand with your back straight and knees a little bent. Start swinging your arms across your body at waist height - you should feel this mostly in your lower back. Move your arms higher to around shoulder-level to feel a stretch through your middle back. Now raise your arms to above head-height to feel the stretch in your upper back. Repeat each 10 times, ‘squeezing' slightly further each time to really feel the stretch.
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