Simple Stretches You Can Do at your Desk
Sitting all day in front of a computer can be taxing on our bodies, resulting in back and neck pain, increased incidence of diseases and conditions such as cancer, coronary artery disease, and diabetes, and their associated risk factors (i.e., obesity, elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar and abnormal cholesterol levels).
Taking a few minutes to do some simple stretches at your desk can relieve stress, increase productivity and energy levels, and improve circulation. Here are some office-friendly stretches, each taking about 2 minutes to complete, and you can do the whole routine in about 10 minutes:
Neck rolls and Shoulder Rolls – Sit upright without your back touching the chair. Drop your right ear toward your right shoulder without lifting your left shoulder or turning your head. Take several deep breaths and repeat on the other side. For shoulder rolls, lift both shoulders to your ears, slowly rolling shoulders around and back, dropping them away from ears. Repeat 5 times, breathing deeply and steadily.
Chair Twist – Turn so you are seated sideways in your chair. Keeping both feet flat on the floor, twist toward the back of the chair, holding the back of the chair with both hands. Take 5 deep breaths in this twist, and repeat on the other side.
Side Stretches – Extend your right arm above your head and lean toward the left, feeling the stretch from right hip to right armpit. Gaze can be up or down. Take 5 deep breaths and repeat on the other side.
Seated Pigeon – With both feet flat on the floor, cross your right leg over the left at a 90-degree angle, keeping the foot flexed and avoiding pressure on the knee. Maintain equal weight on the sitting bones while staying in an upright position. You should feel this stretch on the outer thigh. Hold and breathe 5-10 times before switching legs and repeating on the other side.
Wrist Stretches – Stand up. Turn your hands so that the insides of your wrists face the computer and your fingers point toward you. Lean away from the desk with your arms as straight as possible while flattening your hands as much as possible. Hold and breathe, and back off if you feel any pain.
Setting aside a few minutes each day to stretch the body, relax the mind, and breathe deeply will help you offset the damage of sitting all day and enable you to move through your workday healthier and happier.