Sitting at a desk all day is more demanding on your body than you realize. In fact, health experts are now saying that sitting is the new smoking! A sedentary lifestyle is draining in its own way and is not good for our bodies. The typical desk-worker posture is sitting with a hunched back, shoulders up, neck craned forward, wrists and hands working overtime, and legs at 90 degrees for hours on end. In this position, we are compressing our vital organs and we are putting strain on our muscles that will come back with a vengeance later in life. This is why it is so important to take a break once every hour to move, but what should you be doing on that moving break? Anything is better than sitting, but here are some stretches specifically for desk-workers that can be done right at the office:
This stretch is amazing for desk workers because our hamstrings sit in a shortened position all day which can lead to tightness and back pain. The best way to stretch your hamstring is by placing your heel on a surface, most likely your desk chair, and leaning forward to touch your toes. Try holding this on each side for 30 seconds at the minimum.
Front of Neck Stretch
Stretches like these ones are great because you can do it sitting right at your desk! The way we sit and look at our computers, we are shortening the front of our neck and it’s important to stretch it. How you do it is by place one hand on your chest and using it to push down into your chest. Then you use your other hand by place it on top and pushing down towards the floor. Your hands are creating pressure that is moving in and down your chest although your hands themselves do not move. From there you can tilt your head back, side to side, or wherever you feel the most stretch. When you feel a tight spot, stay there for as long as possible, ideally until you feel a release.
Our hips are in a flexed position when we sit. Doing so much hip flexion means that it’s important to spend some time stretching our hip flexors. One effective and easy way of doing this is by standing and holding onto a wall or surface, then grabbing your right ankle or toes with your right hand to stretch the front of your thigh. Try holding this for at least 30 seconds on each side.
Wrist flexor release/extensor
Your work desk is the best place to stretch your wrist flexors and extensors! Our wrists work overtime with all of that typing! What to is place your palms down with your fingers pointing towards your body and hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Then flip your hands so the back of your hands rests on the table with your fingers still pointing towards your body. Hold this for another 30 seconds.
This bicep stretch is super easy to do and feels great! You just need to find a spot on the wall where you can extend your arm behind you. I like to start by extending one arm to my side and touching the wall so my arm is at 90 degrees. I then will walk closer and closer to the wall facing away from my arm. Stay here for 30 seconds at least and do both sides for the best results.
All of these stretches can be done at work and only take 30 seconds. However, if you wanted to take the extra time to undo your daily sitting or if you are experiencing pain and tightness, I recommend taking these home as well and dedicating about five minutes to each stretch or to whichever stretches you need. Five minutes is when you see more lasting relief from that tightness and your muscle is fully able to release. Check out our other resources for more helpful tips!