Updated: Apr 4
We've all felt the physical effects of sitting at our desks for long periods of time during work, while checking emails, playing Warcraft, or just scrolling on your facebook newsfeed. Constant sitting puts a lot of strain on the body and if gone unchecked can cause a lot of discomfort. If you're not able to get to your nearest yoga studio or the gym try incorporating stretching exercises done through the day. It will definitely go a long way.
Check out a few easy stretches you can do while sitting at your desk to ease the pressure of desk work. We recommend doing each of them a couple times throughout the day.
A. Arm/Hand Stretches
Much of the activity we do at a desk involves our hands/arms to get work done, so its important stretch our arms and hands as much as we can, otherwise we are prone to suffer from more serious conditions like Arthritis or Carpal tunnel.
1. Interlace your fingers and push your palms and inside of you wrists toward the ceiling. Straighten your arms as much as you can while keeping your shoulders down. Stay for 5 deep breaths.
2. Interlace your fingers behind your back and clasp your hands together. Straighten your arms and push your clasped hands away from your back. Keep your shoulders down and back, and open your chest. Stay for 5 deep breaths.
3. Clasp your hands together in front of you and move your clasped hands in the shape of a figure 8 with loose wrists. Imagine like a small fight between each hand trying to dominate the other. The movement should be fast and loose. Try this for 5 breaths then reverse the direction.
B. Neck Circles
Staring at a screen for long periods of time without properly moving the muscle causes a build up of tension in the neck. Try the exercises below to release that tension.
4. Look over your left shoulder then your right shoulder 4 times. Breath in when you look left and out when you look right. Be sure to slowly pass through center as you move your head.
5. Look up at the ceiling then down at your chest 4 times. Breath in when you look up and out when you look down. Be sure to slowly pass through center as you move your head.
6. Tilt your right ear to your right shoulder then your left ear to your left shoulder as if you're pouring water out of your ears. Try this 4 times. Breath in when you tilt your head and out when you return back to center. Be sure to slowly pass through center as you move your head.
C. Half Lotus
The hips often become locked as we sit for hours a time. This half lotus position stretches and releases any tension at the point of insertion for many of the muscles on the side of the leg/glute.
7. Sitting with your feet planted on the ground and your thighs parallel to the floor, lift your right leg and place the outside of your ankle gently above your left knee. Your right leg should create a shape similar to a number 4.
7a. With a straight spine, push your chest towards your bent leg and breath. Stay for 5 deep breaths and switch legs..
D. Torso Twist
The back is one of the main body parts affected by sitting. Typically our posture is compromised and we find ourselves in a hunched and less active position putting intense pressure on our vertebrae. Straighten the spine and increase your mobility with our torso twist exercise.
8.Sit with your spine as straight as possible with your feet firmly planted on the ground. Imagine a string is being pulled out of the top of your head and feel your hips rooted in your chair.
8a. Place your left hand on your right knee and turn your head to look over your right shoulder while twisting your torso to the right. Apply pressure from your left hand to your right knee to push your right shoulder further back.
8b. Maintain a straight spine and breath deeply into your lower belly. Stay for 5 deep breaths and switch to the other side.
E. Shoulder stretch
Shoulders hold a lot of tension whether from the position you're sitting in or the mental work stress that manifests in the shoulders. In general, check to make sure your shoulders are down and relaxed as you work and occasionally try these exercises below:
9. Lift your shoulders towards your ears and release them very loosely as if cutting a string on a heavy weight. Repeat 4 times. Breath in when you shoulders go up and out when your shoulders release.
10a. Roll your shoulders backwards 5 times by lifting your shoulders to the your ears and pushing them back behind you, then forward. Breath in when you lift your shoulders and out as your roll your shoulders forward.
10b. Roll your shoulders forward 5 times by lifting your shoulders to the your ears and pushing them forward, then back behind you. Breath in when you lift your shoulders and out as your roll your shoulders backward.
And voila, enjoy a less tense experience at your desk! Be sure to share this post with friends or colleagues who need to stretch/move a bit while working. We're sure they will thank you for it!