I’m someone who can go hours at a time sitting without realizing it, and my back (and brain) always hate me for it the moment I stand up. A trick I’ve been using recently is to assign an up-tempo song a series of stretches and put it on my study playlist a few times before I press shuffle. When it comes on, I’ll take a different stretch for each verse and chorus, and use the break as a chance to grab a cup of coffee or answer an email to give myself a rest from the grind. In most pop music, each verse and chorus run about 30 seconds, which is a perfect amount of time to hold a quick stretch and really feel it. Not only does it keep my back from clicking like a dolphin the moment I try to move, it also makes it easier to focus for chunks of time because I know there will be a break coming up soon enough.
Here’s a sample of the stretches I’ll do for one song, to give you an idea. I always feel it in my fingers and back, but if you’re a shoulders-and-neck person, or a forehead-and-forearm person, you can sub in the stretches that work for you.And if you’re looking for some song inspiration check out our One Track Workout Playlist below.
Verse 1: Neck Rolls
Starting with my chin over my right shoulder and gaze parallel to the floor, I take my chin down along my collarbones and up to the left shoulder, and then back. Then I’ll pull my shoulder blades forward and then back, and roll my head to the back, tracing shoulder-to-shoulder tracing up the wall, over the ceiling and down the opposite wall with my eyes. Then to finish off, I’ll pull the bottom of my chin towards the ceiling and hold it for a few seconds.
Chorus 1: Finger Pulls
I clasp my hands together like in a thank you gesture, then turn my knuckles towards my body and push my arms out straight so my palms are facing outwards and my fingers and wrists are stretched. Then, I’ll pulse gently in time to the music for a deeper stretch if I need it.
Verse 2: Side body Stretches
I raise my left arm like I have a question, and twist my wrist a bit so my palm is facing my head. I drop my other shoulder, square my hips, and then pull my left arm over my head and lean my left hip into the stretch to feel the pull in my abdomen. Halfway through, I’ll swap sides.
Chorus 2: Back Grabs
I’ll put my right arm up and over my right shoulder, and left arm down and under my left armpit, and try to grab my hands together behind my back. If I’m particularly tight that day, I can’t always make my hands meet, but I pulse on the beat to try and get as close as possible. Then I swap sides and hold the opposite side stretch through the bridge of the song.
For any choruses remaining, I’ll roll my shoulders in circles alternating forward and back, and work on setting my posture back upright if I’ve been slouching. It’s nothing fancy, but I always underestimate how much I need to be stretching, so this is a surefire way to make sure I don’t forget or talk myself out of it. Hopefully for some of you guys with similar issues, this helps!