Sitting at a desk all day can do major damage to your entire body. That’s why it’s important to keep moving and stretching throughout your day at the office. This seems easy enough. But did you know that it can be so easy, you won’t even have to leave your office to do it? Here are a few easy stretches you can do to combat stiffness and pain without ever leaving you desk!
What to do: Sit on the edge of your desk chair, making sure your spine is aligned and your feet are directly below your knees. On your inhale, bring your arms out to your sides, palms facing up, and slowly lift them up until your hands are above your head. After a few seconds, lower your arms back down to your sides. Practice this at least five times.
Why it works: This active stretch provides a great chest stretch, as well as an anxiety reducer by lengthening your rib cage and allowing for a deeper breath.
What to do: This stretch can be done while seated in your desk chair. Make sure your spine is tall and aligned, and on your inhale, twist your upper body to one side, your back hand on the back of the chair and your front hand on the desk. Hold this stretch for about 15 seconds to reap its full benefits. When you’re done with one side, alternate to the other.
Why it works: Twists are great for your spine and can reduce a lot of the tension found there, due to sitting in a single position for long periods of time. Make sure to practice a gentle twist, as to not over extend your back and cause injury.
What to do: Begin by standing normally, with your spine aligned and your knees slightly bent (locked knees are bad for the joint). Hinge at your hips as far you can, then release your neck. Make sure there is no tension in your neck or shoulders to prevent injury.
Why it works: This stretch is perfect for tight hamstrings, which are very common for those who spend a lot of their day sitting at a desk.
Desk Shoulder Opener
What to do: Stand arms length from your desk and place your hands on the edge. Hinge at your hips until your head is in between your shoulders, giving them a good stretch. 15 seconds is an appropriate amount of time to get a full stretch out of this pose.
Why it works: This stretch is perfect for countering the hunched-over posture many of us inevitably have when we’re leaning over our desk typing.
What to do: Stand next to your desk. Place one hand on the desk and the other in the air. Bend to the side with the hand in the air slowly bending towards the desk. Hold the stretch for a minimum of fifteen seconds, and then alternate sides.
Why it works: This stretch is great for your side. It also stretches the spine in a different angle, helping to release tension and, in turn, pain.
What to do: In a seated position, place your right ankle on your left thigh, lengthening your spine on your inhale. Then, on your exhale, hinge at your waist until you feel a good stretch in your hip. Hold this stretch for fifteen seconds (breathing throughout), and then alternate sides. If you need a deeper stretch, you can continue to hinge past your legs, trying to touch the floor. Make sure to try the easier stretch before attempting the deeper one to protect yourself from injury.
Why it works: This stretch is great for opening and stretching your hips, which can become stiff and cause pain from remaining in a seated position for long periods of time.