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ARTHRITIS FOUNDATION OF VICTORIA
www.arthritisvic.org.au  ... (Copy reviewed 2005)

Move It or Lose It!

Have you noticed after you have been sitting for prolonged periods you start to feel uncomfortable, tense, fatigued, stiff and may even start to lose concentration?

This may happen at work when you are writing or using a keyboard, doing a repetitive task, at long meetings, during lectures or at home doing some knitting or sewing, engaged in a hobby, study, watching television or during long-distance driving. Our bodies don’t like being in one position for too long so every so often remember take a P.A.U.S.E...

POSTURE easily becomes slumped and unbalanced and this can become permanent unless you move your body in the opposite direction.

ATTITUDE  to your task will be improved by taking a short break which enables you to return with a fresh approach. to your task will be improved by taking a short break which enables you to return with a fresh approach.

UNWIND  the physical and mental stress that accumulates without you being aware of it. the physical and mental stress that accumulates without you being aware of it.

STRETCH  out muscles and joints that have been held overlong in one position or overused in a repetitive task. out muscles and joints that have been held overlong in one position or overused in a repetitive task.

ENERGISE  your whole body by improving circulation and breathing. your whole body by improving circulation and breathing.

So, take a P.A.U.S.E. with these exercises

  • Do them anytime you have been sitting for more than one hour.
  • Repeat each exercise 2-3 times.
  • Perform exercises slowly, smoothly and gently.
  • STOP if you feel any pain or discomfort and see a doctor if pain persists.
  • Remember to keep breathing comfortably as you do the exercises and don’t hold your breath during stretches.

Pause exercise 1: Neck Rolls

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Turn head to look over right shoulder. Run chin down and across your chest to look over left shoulder and return along the same path. Turn to the left and repeat to the other side.

Pause exercise 2: Shoulder Circles

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Slowly roll both shoulders backwards in large circles. Do four full circles.

Place hands on shoulders and make large circles backwards with your elbows. Do four full circles.


Pause exercise 3: Spine to fingertip stretch

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Sit well back in chair with your back straight. Interlace your fingers (palms facing inwards) and lift arms in front to shoulder height. Stretch forward with your arms.

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Turn your palms outward and lift both arms overhead. Keeping your eyes looking forward, gently stretch arms up and back using back of chair to support your back.

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Return to upright position (arms still overhead) and twist slowly to each side. Return to centre and lower arms.

Give shoulders and arms a shake to relax them.


Pause exercise 4: Ankle rolls

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Sit forward on your chair with feet flat on the floor. This exercise is best done with shoes off.

Lift alternate heels and ‘walk’ through the balls of your feet. Do eight ‘walks’.

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Lift right leg and circle your foot from the ankle four times. Repeat with left leg.

Pause exercise 5: Long Back Stretch

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Stand up and hold table, ledge, bench or back of solid chair (not on castors).

Walk slowly backwards until arms are stretched out with head between arms and back straight.

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Arch your back upwards in a ‘hump’ and then gently push your chest downward to create a slight ‘hollow’ release.

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Move from the waist and gently swing your hips to each side.

Walk feet forwards and slowly straighten up.


More Pause Hints

  • Relax your body and mind with a two minute relaxation break. Sit back in the chair with your back supported, feet flat on the floor and hands resting on your thighs.
  • Take three full, slow breaths in and out feeling your body ‘let go’ with each breath out.
  • Continue breathing slowly and easily counting each breath up to 20.
  • Open your eyes and you will feel more refreshed and alert.
  • Take opportunities to do tasks requiring you to stand up and go for a short walk.
  • Have a ten minute walk outside during lunchtime.

Exercise and arthritis

Contrary to what you may first think, exercise and arthritis really do go together. Regular appropriate exercise helps to relieve and prevent many of the problems associated with arthritis. With exercise you can relieve joint stiffness, increase joint flexibility and muscle strength, improve your general health and well-being, relieve stress and depression and maximise your independence.

Everyone’s arthritis is different so it can be difficult and confusing choosing a suitable exercise program.

The following guidelines will help you decide on what level of physical activity is best for your arthritis.

  • Choose activities which do not overstress your arthritic joints. You can check with your doctor or a physiotherapist.
  • Balance and rest with activity through your everyday activities and during a specific exercise session. You have done too much if your pain increases markedly for more than a few hours.
  • Do not continue with an exercise causing severe pain or discomfort.
  • Rest badly inflamed joints.

 

 

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