All of the following stretches can be done right from your desk.. consider it "Deskercise"
Often, when we think about “pain” incurred at work we think of activities that involve heavy lifting, but simply sitting at a desk all day can have major effects on how your body feels. Not sitting correctly and not taking occasional breaks to either switch positions or stretch can be detrimental to your overall health.
People who sit all day can experience anything from neck and back pain to obesity, musculoskeletal disorders, increased stress, and carpal tunnel. Taking periodic moments to get up and stretch, even within the confines of your desk can make a world of difference in how you feel by the end of the day. To help you get started we have compiled a few tips, as well as a few stretches you can try to help you feel your best every day at work.
Before you even get started with a stretching routine you must remember to do it in the first place. If you are like most people and get so wrapped up in what you are doing for the day that you do not remember much else, try setting timers to remind you to take a break and move.
Also, as you stretch do not forget to breathe! Holding your breath limits your range of motion and you will not get as good of a stretch.
Neck and Traps:
First, make sure your neck does not lock up by doing head rolls. While you sit at your desk, relax and lean your head forward towards your chest. Slowly roll your head to one shoulder and hold the pose for 10 seconds before slowly rolling your head to the opposite shoulder and repeating the step. Do this three times right and left.
Triceps, Shoulders and Upper Back:
Next, stretch out your arms with a good tricep stretch. To do this, raise one of your arms and bend it so your hand is touching the middles of your upper back. Next you will want to take your free hand and pull your bent elbow toward your head. Hold this for 10-30 seconds and then switch arms, repeating the process.
Low Back and Hips:
Resting your hands on the back of your chair or desk, gently bend at your knees and hips. Cross one of your legs to where the ankle of that leg is resting on top of the knee of the leg that is still in contact with the ground. Then gently bend forward. You should feel a stretch through the back of the hip of the leg that is crossed. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. (You can do this pose seated if more comfortable.)
Hamstrings, Low Back and Back of Legs
Finally, make sure your legs get some work with a seated hamstring stretch. As you sit in your chair extend on leg out keeping the other firmly planted on the ground. Slowly reach toward your toes, extending your back as flat as possible. Hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds before switching legs and repeating the steps. *Pro-tip* make sure you do one leg at a time to avoid back problems.
Some other ideas to consider to keep you moving through the day if you want to do more than take stretch breaks include standing up while on the phone, getting a desk that will allow you to work sitting or standing, walking laps during meetings, and getting up every hour to walk around the office.