5 Stretches For the Office

5 Stretches For the Office

By Gail Watson, Contributing Blogger

Sitting at a computer all day is one of the worst things we can do for our bodies. Here are five easy stretches that you can do at your desk.

Standing up for better health
Aside from the lack of activity, we often sit in positions that put stress on our bones, joints and muscles, such as hunching or leaning on our elbows. Eliminating stiffness throughout the day will not only make us feel better, but maintaining flexibility is also important to our health. The more agile we are as we age, the less likely we are to suffer injuries such as falls, strains and chronic pain.

20 Seconds Every 20 Minutes
Adding any kind of movement every twenty minutes or so (even for only twenty seconds), gets you moving and changing your posture helps relieve pressure and tension. Adding in a few minutes of stretching offers greater help. The best part of stretching is how great it makes you feel with so little effort. Periodically practicing some simple stretches can ease muscle pain, release tension, prevent stiffness, and boost your energy and alertness.

5 Desk Stretches
Set a timer to remind yourself to stretch periodically. Remember to always stretch slowly and with kindness. Never push to the point of pain.

#1 Shoulder Shrug. Inhale deeply and shrug your shoulders, lifting them up to your ears. Hold for 3 seconds, then release and drop. Repeat three times.

#2 Loosen your hands and wrists.  Clench both fists and stretch hand out in front of you. Circle at your wrists in one direction for a count of ten, and then reverse for another count. Then give them a good shaking out.

#3 Torso Twist (for your posture and spine). While sitting in your chair with your feet on the ground, sit as tall as you can then turn to the left, grabbing the back of your chair with your left hand, and the arm of the chair with your right. Twist gently to the left and turn your head to look behind you. Hold for a count of ten, then slowly unwind and reverse in the opposite direction.

#4 Leg Hug (for your back and shoulders). Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet firmly on the floor. Bend over, bringing your chest to your thighs and let your arms dangle to the sides and release your head and neck. Bring your hands underneath your legs and try to grasp opposite elbows and gently pull. You should feel a stretch in your back, shoulders and neck. Hold for a count of ten, and then release arms. Relax the stretch for a moment then repeat 3 to 4 more times.

#5 Surrender (to open your chest). While sitting upright in your chair, hold your arms up at right angles in a “surrender” position. Gently press your elbows back until you feel a slight stretch across your chest. With your elbows back, slowly raise and lower your arms, feeling a stretch in the front of your chest and shoulders. Repeat 6 to 10 times.

*Be sure to consult your physician before starting any stretching or exercise regimen.

TELL ME: What are your favorite stretches to keep yourself limber at the office?

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