Proper Stretching Tips for the Office
Sitting at a desk for hours every day might seem normal and inconsequential to your health. The truth is that most office workers sit in the same position, moving their muscles in repetitive motions week over week, doing some serious harm to their bodies. This can cause pain to your neck, shoulder, lower back and lead to obesity, musculoskeletal disorders, joint pain and even more stress.
We want to introduce you to some stretching tips that can make all the difference to your day and your health. It only takes 5 to 10 minutes a day, and can be done right at your desk! You might even become the department hero by taking a little time every day to focus on yourself.
Let’s review some proper stretches that you can perform while at your desk.
Dangers of Sitting at the Computer
Sitting at a computer for 40 hours a week might sound boring but it’s actually a health hazard. Research shows that being stationary in the sitting position is linked to several health issues like high blood sugar and cholesterol. Things get even bleaker when you consider that this lack of activity increases the risk of death and cardiovascular disease.
Sitting at your desk for long periods of time can have you feeling more stressful and worsen your mental health. Luckily, some simple changes can reduce the negative impact you could experience from sitting at your desk for too long.
Benefits of Stretching
Stretching once a day while you are still seated can help improve your health and make you feel better. It can help reduce the risk of sprains, strains and pain in your lower back, shoulders, neck and knees. Someone who stretches daily will be less susceptible to rotator cuff injuries, tendonitis and tennis elbow.
Stretching makes your body feel looser and can improve your productivity. It keeps the blood flowing and helps supply nutrients to muscles and tissues. By making stretching a habit you will feel less tired and more comfortable.
Remember to breathe normally throughout the stretches. Don’t push yourself too hard as comfort is key and hurting yourself would be counterproductive.
Don’t Mind your Surroundings
Surprisingly, an office is the perfect environment to perform a quick series of stretches. Your chair offers support and these stretches don’t require any fancy fitness apparel. Don’t worry about feeling self-conscious. These stretches don’t require any revealing or suggestive positioning. Most can be done without drawing attention to what you’re doing.
After doing these stretches a few days in a row, we’d be surprised if a bunch of your colleagues didn’t join in.
Upper Body Stretches
Try these upper body stretches that can be done while seated at your desk. They will help your shoulders, sides, arms and upper back feel looser and will make you feel more relaxed. Follow these simple instructions to properly perform each stretch while at your desk.
Start your routine with an easy and effective triceps stretch.
- Raise your arm behind your head.
- With your other hand grab your elbow and pull slightly.
- Hold for up to 30 seconds.
- Switch arms and repeat.
Low-Back Rotation Stretch
A stretch that helps the soft tissue of your back and spine. It’s recommended that you do this stretch once an hour, and works best when paired with a brisk walk.
- Make sure your feet are flat on the floor.
- Rotate your upper body to one side.
- When rotated, hold onto the chair for support and to get a deeper stretch. It’s normal to feel some tension in your lower back.
- Take six deep breaths before returning to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side.
Upper Body and Arm Stretch
This stretch will help your shoulders and upper arms.
- Raise your arms above your hand.
- Interlock your fingers.
- Stretch your arms up, then lower for up to 30 seconds.
This is a wonderful stretch for those who experience upper back pain while sitting at their desk.
- Extend your arms in front of you, keeping them as straight as possible.
- Lower your head so that it is almost tucked within your arms.
- Lean forward with as much force that is comfortable.
- Hold for up to 30 seconds.
A comprehensive neck stretch is a relaxing and calming end to your office stretching.
- Relax and tilt your head forward.
- Slowly move your head towards one side and hold for up to 10 seconds.
- Repeat for the other side.
- Do this stretch three times for each side with short breaks in between.
Lower Body Stretches
Here are a series of lower body stretches to alleviate tension in your knees, legs, hamstrings. Follow these simple instructions to properly perform each stretch while at your desk.
This stretch will make your legs feel looser and is great for runners, walkers or for those who are generally active after work.
- Extend both legs outward. It’s normal to feel a little tension in your hamstrings at this point.
- Reach towards your toes. Don’t fret if you can’t make it all the way.
- Hold for up to 30 seconds.
- Do this stretch three times.
Hip and Knee Flexion Stretch
Add this stretch to your routine if you experience even slight hip and knee pain.
- Lean back in your chair.
- Hug one knee as close as possible to your chest.
- Hold your leg in this position for up to 30 seconds.
- Repeat using your other knee.
Seated Glute Stretch
- This stretch improves flexibility and can reduce the discomfort of sitting.
- Bring one ankle onto the knee of your other leg.
- Keep your back straight.
- Lean forward. It’s normal to feel some tension in your glutes at first.
- Push gently on your knee with your hand.
- Inch forward as far as you comfortably can.
- Hold for up to 20 seconds.
- Switch sides.
We hope you don’t need any more convincing to try these quick, helpful and rejuvenating stretches. In addition to positive health benefits, by making a habit of taking a break from work to stretch you’ll be able to do your job better and reduce stress and frustrations. It’s a proven way to recoup a little part of your day, and will make the afternoon fly by with greater ease.
Give these office stretches a try and you’ll feel great!