Working from home this year has become a real pain - a pain in the neck, back, shoulders and wrists in fact.
The first few weeks seemed almost like bliss. It didn't matter what you wore or what you looked like and you could do a 20-minute workout without having to go anywhere.
But the lack of a work station has proven tough to handle. I have been working from the dining room bench, the kitchen bench, a chair on the front verandah, a bean bag and even on the bed, none of which have done my posture and body any good.
Flexibility is an important, but often disregarded, part of any fitness program. And I am guilty of not giving it the attention it deserves.
So, after running past The Stretch Lab a few times in recent months, my interest was piqued. A quick internet search told me The Stretch Lab was not a rehab centre or gym but a practitioner assisted-stretch studio where people habitually go for:
- Improved mobility & flexibility
- Relief from stiffness
- Increased range of motion
- Reduction in stress
- Boosted blood flow to your muscles
- Decreased risk of injury
- Greater muscle relaxation
- Enhanced physical and athletic skills
- Amplify quality of life
When I enquired further, owner and practitioner Hana Jager told me the best way to see what they did was to go in for a one-hour session. So I did. It involved Hana putting me through a range of stretches in a 60-minute period where I felt muscles I hadn't for quite a while. Any questions I had about why you would need someone else to stretch you were more than answered as she moved my body into positions and stretches I would not have been able to myself.
Their clientele, she told me, was diverse and each person is taken through a range of motions, depending on why they are there.
"Some people come in for full-body maintenance and we will take them through a full-body stretch," Hana said. "Some people come in for a specific injury or ache and pain. Sports in particular take us through lots of shortening patterns but the body also has the ability to lengthen as well. We try to help people become a little bit more proficient in what they don't do enough of."
The Stretch Lab has sites in Newcastle and Terrigal on the NSW Central Coast and also help people with postural issues, exacerbated in recent months due to increased working from home arrangements.
"People are setting up home offices and weird desk positions with dining room chairs instead of office chairs and whatnot," Hana said.
"You don't realise how much you move and get up and talk to people and shift when you're at work."
The session got me thinking more about my body and using some of the tips provided on The Stretch Lab's website and social media posts, I have started putting myself through a morning stretch.
"Stretching should be both intuitive and frequent pending activity, posture and habit," Hana said. "Life takes us traditionally through many shortening patterns and combating that with stretch is a sure-fire way to create space in joints, promote circulation and generally move more efficiently."
- Renee Valentine is a journalist, qualified personal trainer and mother of three. email@example.com