Is Finals Week Testing Your Body? We’ve Got Your Back, Neck And Shoulders | Bismarck State College

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Is Finals Week Testing Your Body? We’ve Got Your Back, Neck And Shoulders

Posted: Apr 27 2020
Is Finals Week Testing Your Body? We’ve Got Your Back, Neck And Shoulders
Finals week not only puts a strain on your brain, it tests your body as well. Sitting and studying for long periods of time isn’t the healthiest position for your body. Long sessions in a chair and poor posture wreaks havoc on your muscles and ligaments, leading to a stiff neck, tight shoulders and upper back pain.
 
The good news: stretching out your muscles is good for your overall health and wellness. It’ll aid you feeling calmer during exam time and help improve your academic performance. Plus, it raises your energy levels, gets your blood pumping and keeps you in a more alert and healthy state of mind.
 
We at BSC did a little exercise, compiling these surprisingly simple stretches to help get a student body that’s out of whack back on track—with little space and little effort. (Remember not to hold your breath while doing these. Be sure to breathe throughout all movements and stretches.)
 

Work Out The Neck Kinks

You’ll look silly doing these stretches but they help improve flexibility of the neck, reduce pressure on the spinal nerves and get rid of nagging study-induced tension headaches. So stick your neck out—and in—and give this stretch a try.
 
1. Start by sitting up straight and squeezing your shoulder blades together.
2. Place your finger on your chin. Keep looking forward with your eyes level. Gently press backward.
3. Tuck in your chin, bringing it backward toward your spine. Stop when you feel a stretch—without pain—along the back of your neck.
 4. Hold for five seconds and release. Several reps will stop your neck from acting so kinky.
 

Reach Shouldervana

Got uptight shoulders from all that time bent over your study table? Get ready for this simple stretch.
It’s easy and helps loosen up your shoulders so well that if they could talk they’d say, “ahhh.”
 
1. Stand up straight and clasp your arms slowly behind your back.
2. Keeping your arms extended, slowly raise them behind you until you feel a nice stretch through the front of each shoulder and across your chest. Hold for 30 seconds.
3. You can flip your hands so that your palms face outward. This will give you a deeper stretch but it requires a lot of flexibility. Not that flexible? Then just keep your palms faced inward.
4. Avoid bending forward and don’t force the stretch. You shouldn’t be feeling any pain—just relief.
5. Repeat three times.


Feel The Wow Cat Cow

If you haven’t heard about the Cat Cow it’s time you learned about it for finals week. It’s not only fun to do, it’s super easy if you’re a beginner. What’s great about the Cat Cow is that it’s the perfect stretch for releasing back tension and returning that stressed student back of yours to its happy place. It also builds muscles and reduces stress—an extra added bonus for days like these with limited exercise opportunities. Alright, let’s get you doing the Cat Cow.
1. Start this stretch with your knees on the floor, palms directly under the shoulder and knees directly below the hips.
2. Breath in and pull your abs in as you arch your back up like a stretching cat. Let your head and tailbone drop down toward the floor. This is the Cat Position.
3. Return to the starting position and then extend the upper part of the spine upwards, supporting it with your abs without letting your neck sink into your shoulders—that will cause your shoulders to crunch up into your neck. Make sure your neck is a long extension of your spine and don’t let your head fall back.
This is the Cow Position
4. Return to the starting position and repeat 5 times.
 

Thread The Needle

All that studying can be a real pain in the neck, back and shoulders. Here’s an easy-to-do stretch that offers instant relief to get your loose and limber for when it’s time to hit the books again.
 
1. Start on your hands and knees and slide the right hand between the left hand and the left knee.
2. Slide your arm all the way out to the left so that your right shoulder and side of your head rest comfortably on the floor.
3. Inhale and reach your left hand up towards the ceiling. Find the place where you feel the deepest stretch, stay there and reach through the fingers.
4. Breathe and hold for 3-6 breaths. Then repeat on the other side. Do the stretch on each side 3 times.
 

The Seated Spinal Twist

Okay. The reason you need to do some stretching is because you’ve been doing too much sitting. But what’s a student to do? Since you’ve got a lot of studying left we’ll make things even simpler. You won’t even have to get out of your chair. This exercise helps stretch the back and spine and improve overall circulation.
 
1. Start by sitting tall in your chair with your feet flat on the ground.
2. Breathe in deeply to lengthen the spine, make sure your hips are facing forward and that you’re sitting firmly planted in your chair.
3. As you breathe out slowly, twist to your left, taking hold of your left armrest with your right hand and the back of the chair with your left hand.
4. Make sure to turn your head over your left shoulder.
5. Hold this position for at least 5 slow breaths.
6. Breathe in one last time, and slowly return to the front-facing position as you exhale. Use your stomach muscles as you return to your forward-facing position rather than just recoiling back to it.
7. Repeat these steps on the right side.
8. Be slow and deliberate with every movement—to avoid tweaking your back.
 
If you’re too tired and cranky to do stretches with steps, here are 7 crazy-easy stretches to do while studying from your study table, desk or chair. These tried-and-true moves are designed to keep your body—and mind—flexible for finals. With a lot of studying and a little stretching you’ll be primed and prepped for any test. Who knew.