Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ten Exercises for Quilt Makers

I thought this was worth passing on.  You can print out a one-page PDF and pin it up in your sewing room, as a reminder.   

http://www.quiltviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/exercises_crop_300_2.pdf

Many hours of cutting, sewing, and hand or machine quilting can take a toll on your body. According to medical sources, good posture and certain exercises can help relieve stress and prevent problems associated with repetitive quilt-related activities.
Learn these ten exercises for happy and healthy stitching, republished with permission from Lourdes Hospital in Paducah, Kentucky.



Good Sitting Posture
Good sitting posture allows your back to do its job of supporting you.
Your goal is to keep the three natural curves of  your spine in their normal, balanced alignment.
Neck Retraction
To realign your cervical curve, slide your chin straight back keeping your head and ears level. You should feel like you have a double chin.
Repeat 5-10 times, several times during the day.
Neck Stretch
To release muscle tension in your neck, try to touch your ear to your shoulder. Be sure to keep your nose pointing forward and move slowly.
Repeat 5-10 times, several times during the day.
Shoulder Circles
To release muscle tension in your neck, shoulders, and upper back, circle your shoulders backward in a wide arc. Make several circles then relax.
Repeat 5-10 times throughout the day.
Elbow Press
To release muscle tension in your middle back, bring your elbows out to the side at chest height. Press them gently backward, hesitate a moment, then release.
Repeat 5-10 times, several times throughout the day or whenever you feel stiff or tired.
Middle Back Stretch
To realign your thoracic curve, bend both elbows and press one arm above you.Then press the other behind you to complete the exercise.
Repeat 5-10 times, several times throughout the day.
Abdominal Strengthener

Strong abdominal muscles will help support your lower back and keep it aligned. Sit with your buttocks firmly against the back of you chair and exhale and tighten your abdominal muscles for a count of 10.
Release and repeat 5-10 times, several times during the day.
Backward Bend
To revers the slouch curve and release muscle tension in your lower back, stand up, press your palms on your lower back for support, and gently bend your upper and lower back backward. Hesitate for a moment, then release.
Repeat 5-10 times, several times a day.
Certain repetitive hand activities may put you at higher risk for developing a variety of wrist problems. By learning how to modify how you use your hands, you may be able to reduce the risk.

  • Keep your wrist in neutral. Avoid usingy our wrist in a bent or twisted position for long periods of time. Try to maintain your wrist in a neutral (straight) position.
  • Rest your hands. Periodically give your hands a break by letting them rest briefly. You may be able to alternate easy and hard tasks, switch hands, or rotate activities.
Gripping
To release muscle tension in your hands, slowly make a fist then stretch you fingers out straight while spreadking your fingers. Hold this position for a second, then relax.
Repeat 5-10 times, several times during the day.
Thumb Stretch
To release muscle tension in your thumbs, stretch you thumb out to the side gently pullingon it with your opposite hand. Hold it in a stretched position for a count of 3, then release.
Repeat 5-10 times, several times during the day.
Originally posted by Christine N. Brown, American Quilter magazine editor-in-chief.

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