You already know sitting at your desk all day can’t be good for you. You’ve noticed the aching neck, the sore glutes or the general lack of circulation to your legs but there’s not much you can do about it…right?
Wrong! There are hundreds of stretches you can do at your desk that can drastically improve those aches and pains which come from hours and hours of sitting.
Here are 10 easy stretches anyone can do! If you’re reading this at work, take the next 10 minutes to stretch for a happier, healthier body and mind.
- Tricep Stretches
Stretch: Raise your arms and bend one behind so that your hand reaches towards the opposite elbow. Use your other hand to pull the elbow towards your head. Hold it for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Benefits: Sitting at a desk all day causes a lot of stress on your shoulders and neck, but a lot of the pressure comes from your arms sitting at 90-degrees in front of your computer. This stretch allows the back of your arms to release and reduces other upper body pains.
- Overhead Stretch / Latissimus Stretch
Stretch: Copy the position of the previous stretch, take one arm and lean to the side, keeping your body vertical and your head facing forward NOT tipping over. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Benefits: This stretch works on the right and left back muscles behind your ribs. Often, when you’re sitting at a desk, your body tends to tilt forward, causing a strain on this muscle. Stretching it over to the right and left pulls it in another way, allowing it to relax and reduces follow on stress in the surrounding muscles.
- Upper body and arm stretch
Stretch: Clasp your hands together above the head with palms facing outward. Push your arms upwards, stretching up! Hold the pose for 30 seconds.
Benefits: Stretching the muscles eases joints, thereby enhancing the normal and full range motion of the joints. It also enhances the blood flow to the muscles, which increases the overall blood flow and moves nutrients more effectively through the body.
- Neck stretches
Stretch: Sit tall with your shoulders down. Gently pull your head towards each shoulder and hold the pose for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Benefits: The neck connects and supports your head and the cervical spine. Stretching these muscles immediately affect your state of mind.
- Shoulder shrug
Stretch: Raise both shoulders at the same time as high as possible and roll your shoulders backward. Repeat this motion for 10-15 times.
Benefits: A quick and easy way to build and develop strength in your shoulders and trapezius muscles (i.e. muscles of your upper back). It also helps to get rid of shoulder tension from sitting at the desk all the time!
- Chest Opener
Stretch: Interlace your fingers behind you and place your arms on top of your chair’s backrest Drop your chin to your chest and hold the pose for 8-10 breaths.
Benefits: Strengthens your pectoral muscles and helps towards balancing all your upper body muscles as well as your torso helping your posture over a period of time. Chest exercises constantly work towards diminishing the pressure, stress, and tension on and around the bones and muscles in the chest area.
- Torso Stretch/ Trunk Rotation
Stretch: Keep your feet firmly on the ground facing forward. Twist your upper body in the direction of the arm that’s resting on the back of the chair. Hold the pose for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Benefits: Awesome for the oblique muscles which contribute to spinal stability. This work exercise also helps assist your core and stabilize your torso.
- Wrists/Fingers stretch
We often neglect our fingers/wrists which are so important because we use them so much for typing on our keyboards and texting!
Stretch: Place both hands in front of you. Face one palm away from you, with your fingers pointed towards the ground. Use the other hand to pull your palm towards you as much as possible, and then switch to the other way. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds, and then swap hands.
Benefits: Alleviates soreness, stiffness and aching joints due to constant or over usage.
- Desk downward dog
Stretch: Stretch out your arms and place your hands on your desk, extending your hips out while walking out to make an L shape with your feet under your hips. Rotate your pelvis towards the sky to release hamstring and hips. Release all your shoulders and open your spine by pushing your hands into your desk, rolling your shoulders under and pulling back through your hips.
Benefits: Stimulates the brain and nervous system, improves memory, concentration, hearing, and eyesight.
- Hamstrings stretch
Stretch: While seated, extend one of your legs out. Point your toes upwards to the ceiling and lean forward, placing it on the ground. Hold the pose for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Benefits: Tones your thighs, prevents lower back pain. So do it right now!