10 Simple Stretches

Following are the ten simple stretches for flexibility and injury prevention, which can easily be exercised in a CRNA workplace.  These WebMd exercises were featured in the January 2014 Wellness Milestones article, Maximizing Your Work Time to Prevent Injury, by CRNAs Tiffany Uranga and Eddy Steele. Enjoy!

  1. Stand up and sit down – You might be surprised that this can be a little challenging without using your hands.
  2. Shoulder Shrug – Lift your shoulders up to your ears. Hold for three seconds and release. Repeat this exercise three times. Also, try slowly moving your head ‘yes and no.’ By over exaggerating the moves, you get a good neck stretch.
  3. Air Circles – With your hands extended in front, or to your sides if there is enough room, clench your fists and make circles in the air with your fists. Do each direction 10 times and vary the size of your air circles.
  4. Wrist Stretch – With your left hand stretched out in front of you, palm facing down, bend your wrist and point your fingers toward the floor. Use your right hand to gently pull the fingers of your left hand to increase the stretch. Repeat with the right hand. Now, with the left hand stretched out in front of you, palm facing up, bend the wrist and point your fingers up. Use your right hand to gently pull your hand closer to yourself to increase this stretch. Repeat with the right hand.
  5. Torso Twist – Inhale and as you exhale twist to the right grabbing your chair to help increase the twist. Hold the twist and see how far behind your right shoulder you can see with your eyes. Repeat this stretch to the left.
  6. Leg Extensions – Grab the seat of your chair and extend your right leg straight so that it is parallel to the floor. Point your toes forward and then flex them back toward yourself five times. Release your foot back to the floor. Repeat on the left side.
  7. Big Hug – Ensure you are sitting or standing erect, give yourself a hug.
    Hold this position as you breath slowly. Try to increase the area between your shoulder blades upon each exhale.
  8. Cross your Arms – With your left arm stretched across your torso, grab your left forearm with your right hand. Keeping the left arm straight gently pull it across your chest with the right hand. Repeat with the right arm.
  9. Leg Hug – Sit on the edge of your chair. If it has wheels, make sure it is wedged against a wall or anesthesia machine so it does not roll. With your feet flat on the floor lean over and bring your chest to your knees. Give your legs a hug and feel the stretch in your back and shoulders.
  10. Look Up – Sitting up tall in your chair, stretch your arms overhead and interlock your fingers. Turn your palms up toward the ceiling. Tilt your head back lifting your chin in the air as you look up toward the ceiling. Inhale and exhale a few times and then release.
​ ​ Brigham Young University Nursing Students ​happily demonstrate workplace wellness stretches
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Big Hug​ ​Cross Your Arms Torso Twist


Do you have any favorite stretches not listed here? Share them with us or send feedback (see below) on these ten, email wellness@aana.com.

For more information and resources, see Physical Well-Being, CRNA Workplace Ergonomics (Mayo Clinic stretching videos), Workplace Wellness, and the collection of published Wellness Milestones.


 Member Feedback


​Email from a Maryland CRNA:

I really enjoyed seeing the 10 flexibility stretches in the January NewsBulletin; what a great way to reduce stress and stay focused. 

I have tight hips, thus one stretch I do is: sitting erect in a chair or on a stool with my left foot firmly planted on the floor, I take my right ankle and place it above my left knee. If I am not too tight I will bend forward with a straight back, inhaling and exhaling a few times in this position. I release my right foot back to the floor and repeat with the left foot.
Thanks for sharing these great stretches!

Jessica Switzman, CRNA, MSN