Office and computer work are hard to avoid, no matter what business you’re in. While you might think that sitting for long periods of time is better for you than being active every day, sitting at a desk for many hours can cause muscle aches and pains as well! Often times, the repetitive motions of typing or writing can cause severe problems in the wrists and elbows. Lower backs and hips can also suffer. It’s important to get at least 5 minutes of exercise every hour. Here are some simple stretches that you can do at or near your desk.
When you stay seated for a long time, your lower muscles are disengaged, and your hamstrings tighten, straining your lower back. Try the forward bend stretch to decrease lower back pain. Stand up. Bend over at the hips until your chest touches your thighs. Your head and arms should hang loosely. Hold this for 10 seconds while breathing deeply and evenly.
The majority of stress in desk work falls to your hands, wrists and elbows. While you may only be doing tiny movements, many of them are repetitive and can cause damage. Use this very simple wrist and fingers stretch to give them a break. While standing, place both hands on your desk or another flat surface. Your palms must be flat with your fingertips pointing to your body. Lean forward into the desk to deepen the stretch. You can hold the stretch for 10-15 breaths, or when tension reduces.
To end our simple office stretches, we’ll tackle one of the biggest sources of Neck stretch – Sit up straight with your feet flat. Lower your chin all the way to your chest, then slowly roll your head to the right, then back, left, then back down. Bring your right ear to your right shoulder. Intensify the stretch by placing your right hand on your head just above your left ear. You can also put your left hand on your left shoulder. Apply gentle pressure if you feel comfortable doing so. Breathe in and out slowly for about 10 breaths, then repeat on the left side.
If you have trouble remembering to do your stretches, set a timer to go off once every hour. Take a lap around your office to get a drink of water, then end with your stretches, which should take as little as 5 minutes. While they are very simple, they will go a long way to combating that dreaded office bod!