Have you considered the benefits of performing quick, simple workouts and stretches while working at your salon?
Exercising on the job can help you relieve stress, improve your mood, or reduce pain in your back, shoulders, wrists and other problem areas.
Whatever reasons you may have for wanting to slip some exercise into your workday, don’t let a perceived lack of time stop you. Even brief, 30-second exercises in between clients could lead to lasting improvements in your health.
In this article, we’ll explore ideas that you can start using right away, without any gym equipment necessary! These exercises can be done in between clients, on the way to a restroom or water break, during lunch, or as you finish your workday.
Shoulder, neck, and back stretches
For hairdressers especially, standing for extended periods of time is a given, which can lead to a stiff back and other problems. To help manage this, give yourself at least 30–60 seconds in between clients to stretch.
The following exercises can help with your back, shoulder, and neck. You may repeat them as many times as you’d like as long as you’re feeling comfortable.
Lower back: as you sit in a chair with arms hanging down, spread your knees without lifting your feet. Take a deep breath, and lean forward; hold for about 10 seconds to stretch your lower back, then slowly rise back up.
Back and spine: sit in front of a chair or table that you can hold onto for support. Slowly squat to the ground, keeping your feet flat, and hold for 10 seconds.
Neck rotations: lower your chin down to your chest, and slowly and gently roll your head from side to side.
Reach high: interlock your fingers and reach straight up with both arms, with your palms toward the sky. Hold this as long as you feel comfortable.
Tilted arm extensions: stand with feet shoulder width apart; reach one arm up and over your head, then slowly tilt your upper body in the direction your arm is pointed, and hold for 5-10 seconds. Repeat with the other arm.
Hip & leg stretches
Upper leg (quads): tightness in your legs is surprisingly a common reason people feel lower back pain. Stretching your legs can often help with your back. To stretch your quads, stand with feet shoulder width apart, and hold onto a table or wall for support if necessary. Lift one foot backward and hold it with your hand. Lean backward but keep your knee pointed down. Hold for 5-10 seconds, and repeat for each leg.
Hip flexors: place one foot on a stair, table, chair, or another elevated surface. Hold the other left straight back. Tilt your hips backward while leaning your upper body forward. Hold for 10 seconds on each leg.
Wrist, forearm, and hand stretches
Hairdressers use repetitive motion and often hold their arms in similar positions for hours a day. Unfortunately, in some cases, this can even lead to Carpel Tunnel. Even if it’s not that serious, your day to day use of your hands can cause pain, stiffness or soreness. These exercises may help:
Wrist stretch: stretch out one arm with your palm facing up. With your other hand, pull your fingers down to stretch your forearm gently. Hold for 5-10 seconds, and repeat with your other hand. You may also try variations like only holding down one or two fingers at a time.
Hand stretches: ball up a fist tightly, then let it go, and spread your fingers as wide as you can go. Repeat this as many times as feels comfortable with both hands.
Tip: use a “stress relief ball” or similar item to squeeze with your hands while on breaks, which helps ensure a balance in the muscles of your hand.
Strength & endurance training
For those of you who want to go beyond stretching and relieving pain, there is a range of easy strength building exercises you can do while at work:
Calf raises: keep your toes on the ground and raise your heels off the floor, then slowly lower them. Some people may wish to hold onto something for support, but this one you can do almost anywhere. For extra resistance, try placing your toes on an elevated surface such as a stair.
Leg extensions: sit in a chair, and stretch out your leg until it is level with the ground, then hold for 10 seconds or however long feels comfortable, then slowly lower it. Repeat with both legs as many times as you’d like.
Elevated push-ups: plant your feet on the ground, then put both hands on a wall or a sturdy piece of furniture. Your feet should be far enough away that you can push up and down with a small resistance.
Water bottle weights: keep a couple of large water bottles with you, and use them as light weights for quick workouts. Use them for bicep curls, or lift them over your head. If not water bottles, you might have some other objects handy you can use as weights.
Jumping jacks: that simple exercise most of us learned as children still come in handy! Do a quick set of jumping jacks anywhere to get your heart rate up and your blood flowing. For a low impact version, keep your right foot planted, then raise your right hand while moving your left foot side to side. Repeat for the left side.
Small changes can lead to significant gains
You may be surprised how just adding in a few of these exercises throughout your day can improve your physical and mental health.
We have only scratched the surface of possibilities – many more workouts and stretches are easy, quick, and don’t require a gym membership. Which of these will you try? Do you already do any of these, or ones not mentioned? If so let us know in the comments!
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