For those of you who work the dreadful 9-to-5, sitting behind a desk all day with little room or opportunity to stretch, this article is for you. Research shows that just a few minutes of stretching a day can help relieve stress, relax tense muscles and re-energize you to take on the rest of the day.
Here are five simple and effective stretches that you can do throughout the workday in order to add more physical activity into your life.
It’s important to get blood flowing, especially in your legs. While sitting in your desk chair, lift and straighten one leg at a time. Slowly roll your ankle clockwise, then counterclockwise to stretch lower leg muscles and your hamstrings. Do this for about a minute or so, and then repeat with the opposite leg. It’s amazing how much tension this will relive in your knees and legs, especially if you sit cross-legged all day long.
Sitting with good posture can help you to avoid back pain, neck pain or other muscle pain. However, how many people truly sit with perfect posture? Stretching your spine will help. While sitting in your chair with your feet are flat on the floor, take your left hand and firmly grasp the right armrest. Exhale deeply while you turn just your upper body towards the right until you feel a stretch in your shoulder blades and the left side of your back. Hold for five breaths and switch sides.
Individuals who sit at a computer with their hand or wrist in the same position all day are more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. And women appear to be more prone to developing carpal tunnel syndrome than men. Therefore it’s important to stretch your wrists at work. You can do this by standing in front of your desk, placing your palms flat on the desk so that your fingers point back towards your body. Keeping your hands in place, take a few small steps back until you feel a good stretch through the underside of your lower arm. Repeat five times.
Another way to keep your back and shoulder muscles loose is by doing shoulder shrugs at your desk. While sitting up straight, simply lift your shoulders to your ears. Next, squeeze your shoulders together and then slowly pull your shoulder down to stretch all around your shoulder blades. Take a short break and repeat.
Neck stretches can help to prevent stiffness. While sitting at your desk, place your left hand under your left sit bone. Gently lean your head to the right until you feel a stretch down the left side of your neck. For more of a stretch, place your left hand on the right side of your head. Do not pull your head, but let the weight of your arm increase the stretch in your neck. Then repeat on the right side.
[box_light]Jackie Ryan is an advocate for safety in the workplace. In addition to stretching, Jackie uses anti fatigue mats at her company to prevent work related injuries. Employee health and safety is her number one priority.[/box_light]
- Tingling or Achy Hands and Wrists (everydayfamily.com)
- Three Simple Stretching Exercises against Back Pain (trainbodyandmind.com)
- ART for the Rest of Us (mensjournal.com)
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome VI: Hand Pain and anti-inflammatory medications. (midwestprs.com)
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