Like millions of people around the world, you might have a job in which you sit most of the day. Those who spend hours in one position may find their bodies starting to ache, and their posture worsening. While there are many ergonomic chairs that can help prevent such aches, stretching is an easy, cost-effective way to loosen your muscles throughout the day.
Stretching also comes with a few benefits that you might not know about. Read on to learn about how stretching can positively impact your work life, and which exercises you can do at your desk.
Stretching will refresh you.
Even though stretching takes time away from work, it can actually improve productivity in the long run. This is because it’s good to take small breaks throughout the day in order to revitalize your mind.
Stretching makes you less tired.
We all suffer from the post-lunch drowsiness. But good news: there is a cure (that’s not coffee)! Stretching increases blood flow to tight joints and muscles, something that also occurs while working out. In the past, exercising was thought to make a person more tired, but today we know that the opposite is true. Therefore, stretching can put a little pep in your step when you’re feeling drowsy.
Stretching feels good.
There is no doubt that the less flexible people of the world may find the act of stretching to be uncomfortable. But, after stretching various muscles, your body typically feels better. We also do not advise stretching to the point of extreme discomfort. You especially need to be careful when stretching in the office because you are loosening cold muscles, which are more susceptible to injuring than those that are warm.
9 Desk Stretches for the Work Day
1. The One Arm Hug
Take one arm across your body and place it on the back of your opposite shoulder. To get a deeper stretch, use your other arm to push back on the elbow. You should feel this stretch on the outside of your arm and shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds, repeat 2-3 times each arm.
2. Office Chair Back Stretch
While sitting, reach both hands behind your back and around the office chair. One you have a good hold, arch your back and move your chest forward. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 5 times.
3. Reach for the Sky
To stretch your back, interlock both hands above your head, palms facing the ceiling. Sit straight up, then push your palms upward and elongate your spine. You should feel a nice stretch in your back. Make sure to keep your shoulders loose and relaxed. Hold for 10 seconds, repeat 5 times.
4. Calf Raises
Take a break from sitting, stand up and try 20 calf raises. Keep your legs straight and raise yourself by rolling up onto the ball of your foot while tightening your calf.
5. Hamstring Chair Stretch
While sitting, straighten your legs and fold your body towards your toes. Make sure to keep your back straight. Hold for 30 seconds, repeat 3-5 times.
6. Seated Lat Stretch
To get a nice lat stretch, raise one arm above your head and bend it slightly across your body. Grab your wrist with the opposite arm and gently tug down to get a deeper stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, repeat 3-5 times per arm.
7. Seated Spine Twist
Cross one leg over the other, then twist your body toward the leg that is on top. You can use the arm of the chair to push yourself into a deeper twist if need be. Hold for 30 seconds, repeat 3 times each side.
8. Seated Tricep Stretch
Put one arm up and bend your elbow so that the under side of your arm is facing outward. Next, use your opposite arm to push your elbow backwards so that you feel a stretch in your triceps. Hold for 30 seconds, repeat 3-5 times per arm.
9. Wrist Stretch
Press your palms together in front of your chest and hold for 15 seconds. Next, push the backs of your hands together for a reverse stretch and hold for another 15 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
Note: these stretches are merely recommendations. If you feel pain, stop and contact a medical professional.