In-office Stretches for Better Health
You’ve heard it all before, about how sitting at your desk all day is bad for your overall health. Still, you can’t just up and quit your job… You know, the one that requires you to sit and stare at a screen for about eight hours? That’s a long time and, in the long run, can really take a toll on your health. In fact, sitting at your desk all day is the main contributor to weight gain, increased cholesterol levels, and heart disease. Don’t worry though! We’ve come up with a few quick exercises that you can do right at your desk. These exercises will keep you moving and stretch out your muscles, in turn avoiding aches and pains from keeping your body in a neutral position all day!
Neck Stretches: Let’s say you are sitting at your desk and find yourself with a few extra minutes. Instead of staring at your computer screen, try closing your eyes and letting your chin drop down to your chest. Begin circling your neck slowly, moving the right ear to the right shoulder, then towards your back, and finally left ear to the left shoulder. Do this 3-5 times. If you feel tightness, do not rush! Go nice and slow and keep your shoulders as relaxed as possible. Once this exercise is complete, inhale deeply and shrug your shoulders by lifting them up to your ears, holding for a few seconds, then dropping them. Do this three times and afterwards, slowly shake your head “yes” and “no” to relax.
Shoulder Stretches: If you are looking to relieve stress in the back of your shoulder, place one hand under your elbow and lift your elbow to stretch it across your chest. Try not to rotate your body while doing this stretch. Hold the pose for 15-20 seconds and you will immediately feel relief in the back of your shoulder. Let go slowly and repeat with the other side. To get your blood moving, try wall pushups. This exercise will get everything circulating while stretching your shoulders. Stand facing about a foot away from the wall and push yourself off the wall with your arms. The last impressionable stretch we suggest for shoulders is quite simple. You may recognize it from your high school PE class! Simply lift one arm and bend it behind your head. Use your other hand to place on your elbow to apply pressure. Do this to both sides and hold anywhere from 15-30 seconds.
Wrist Stretches: About every hour, roll your wrists clockwise and counterclockwise about 10 times. This stretch can help your poor typing fingers and sore arms from getting carpal tunnel syndrome. Then, extend your fingers as open as possible for a few seconds before clenching them into tight fists. Repeat this multiple times.
Back Stretches: While sitting, place your hands on the edge of your desk and slowly push your chair back until you are looking at the floor. Pull yourself back in slowly and repeat about 15 times. Afterwards, reach for the sky! Sit up tall in your chair or stand up and stretch your arms above you while interlocking your fingers, palms to the ceiling. Make sure to take a nice deep breath in and out while you stare, chin up, at the ceiling. Hold this for 10 seconds, then slowly try to reach higher and higher.
Leg Stretches: If you are looking to ease your hamstrings and lower back, back away from your desk and put your foot up on it. Sit up straight and gently reach for your foot on the desk. Flex and point your foot and hold for about 10 seconds. To stretch our thighs, stand up, grab the back of your chair with one hand and then grab your ankle and pull it behind you towards your bottom. Keep your back straight and knees parallel to each other while holding the pose for 15-30 seconds. Lastly, grab the seat of your chair in order to brace yourself. Extend both legs out in front of you so that they are parallel to the ground. Flex and point your toes five times.