5 Stretches You Can Do at Your Desk
Can you count yourself among the 86% of Americans with a job that requires you to sit at a desk all day? We feel your pain — in the neck, shoulders, back, legs, and hands. Increasingly, studies are showing us the risks of sitting all day at a desk — poor posture, increased cardiovascular risk, diabetes, and even a lowered life expectancy.
But what is a person to do? If you’re job requires that you sit at a desk for 8 hours a day, how can you avoid some of the side effects?
Even if you are confined to your cubicle for the majority of the day, adding in simple breaks for movement and stretching can help. Set a timer to stand up at least once an hour (even if you’re not able to walk around) and stretch your muscles. Your body will thank you!
Even if you can’t get out of your chair during the workday, making an effort to move more and stretch the muscles strained by sitting, it will help combat some of the stress of sitting.
To help you get started, we’ve pulled together five stretches you can do at your desk.
- Neck rolls. One of the biggest complaints from desk job workers is neck pain. Bending over a computer for hours at a time can become a literally pain in the neck. To keep muscles loose, perform these motions:
- Look down at the ground. Hold for 5 seconds.
- Look up at the ceiling. Hold for 5 seconds.
- Look over your left shoulder. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat on the right shoulder.
- Place your left ear to your left shoulder. Roll the chin along the chest until you right ear meets your right shoulder. It’s ok if you can’t touch your ear to your shoulder, just move the neck until you feel a stretch. Roll back and forth from each shoulder five times.
- Cat-Cowl Stretch. If you’ve practised yoga, this move will be familiar to you. If not, don’t fret, cat-cowl is super easy and feels fantastic.
- Sit at the edge of your chair with feet flat on the floor.
- Place your hands on your knees.
- On an inhale, arch the back and look up at the ceiling.
- On the exhale, round the spine and drop the head forward.
- Repeat 5 times or until your feel your back relax.
- Figure four stretch. Sitting all day isn’t only hard on your back, your legs and hips can get tight too. The figure four is a great stretch to release some of the tension.
- Sit at the edge of your chair with both feet flat on the floor.
- Lift your right foot and place it on top of your left thigh.
- With your foot flexed, lean forward until you feel the stretch in your hip and right leg. Hold for at least 5 seconds.
- Repeat on left side.
- Spinal twist. When seated as a desk, our motion is very limited. Incorporating a spinal twist in your stretches wakes up the entire body and will improve your range of motion outside the office. Plus, it feels great.
- Sit up as straight as you can on the front of your chair, with both feet flat on the floor.
- Turn right towards the back of your chair until you can grab the back of the chair with your right hand. Use the back of the chair as leverage to stretch and twist the back. Remember to keep elevated posture, even while twisting. No slouching!
- Repeat on left side.
- Wrist stretch. If you do a lot of typing or repetitive motion with your hand, there’s a good chance you’ve experience carpal tunnel pain. Stretching the wrists can help alleviate some of this discomfort — and help you avoid permanent injury.
- Stand up, facing your desk.
- On the edge of the, place both hands flat so that the inside of your wrists are facing the computer and your fingers are facing you.
- Lean away from the desk. Try to keep your arms straight and your hand flat on the desk. Hold for at least 5 seconds. Repeat if desired.
Try incorporating these stretches — or others that you like — into your workday. It’s the best way to sneak in a little self-care in your workday. If you would like to learn more, or have sitting related problems you want help on, please feel free to contact us or schedule a free consultation today!