4 Stretches You Can Do At Your Desk
We’ve all heard about the dangers of sitting too much. A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to a whole host of diseases, from high blood pressure to heart disease, bad cholesterol and obesity.
Anyone who works a desk-bound job knows the familiar feeling of a stiff neck, achy shoulders and a tight lower back. Unfortunately, if you don’t have the privilege of a stand-up desk, you’re stuck with the chair. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer!
Some studies have shown doing some mild desk stretches can reduce pain by up to 72%, not to mention relieve mental and physical stress.
If you find your body copping computer-related kinks during the day, get a little reprieve with these four easy stretches you can do at your desk.
1. The ‘crossed arm twist’
In technical speak, you might call this a thoracic rotation stretch. It’s great for releasing some of that tension between in your upper back, which can actually be the culprit of pain in your lower back too.
Sit in your chair with your feet flat on the floor in a neutral position. To find the neutral spot, slump forward, then tilt your hips forward so your back and shoulders are arched; your neutral position is somewhere in between.
Cross your arms and place your palms on your opposite shoulders. Now, only using your upper body, twist so you’re looking to the right. Hold this position for three deep breaths. Return to your neutral position and repeat, looking to the left.
2. The ‘shrug it off’
This is an easy an easy deskercise (what do you mean that’s not a word?!) and one you can do every day to help ease achy shoulders.
Sitting at your desk, raise both shoulders in a ‘shrug’ motion towards your ears. Hold for five seconds, release, and repeat as many times as you want. Just don’t do this one while your boss is asking you questions, or you might end up looking a little indifferent.
3. The ‘seated glute stretch’
So much of our tension is held in our gluteus maximus - yep, our butts. Believe it or not, having tight glutes (not the good kind) actually impacts on our ability to breathe deep. Go ahead and try it; tense your glute muscles and try to take a deep breath. Harder, isn’t it?
One of the best office stretches you can do to relieve some of that tightness is a seated glute stretch. Sitting on a chair, bring your left ankle up to your right knee, like you’re in a very open cross-legged position. The sole of your foot should be flat and facing the righthand side.
From here, and with a straight back, lean forward until you start to feel a stretch in your left glute. Keep breathing and hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, gently continuing to push forward as far as you can do. Switch sides and repeat!
4. The ‘flick of the wrist’
RSI (repetitive strain injury) is more common than ever thanks to our constant computer use, and our wrists are number one on the risk list.
While seated, extend your right arm out in front of you at shoulder height with your palm open (imagine you’re saying ‘no!’ to RSI). Keep your right elbow straight and grab your right fingers with your left hand, slowly bending your wrist backwards until you feel a stretch.
Keep holding and you should feel the stretch into the underside of your forearm. Flip your hand down (like you’re showing off your nails) and apply pressure with your right hand. Now you should feel the stretch on top of your forearm. Hold, and then switch arms. Ahhh relief.