Sitting at a desk each day for hours on end is commonplace. But just because something is commonplace doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Sitting for too long can cause a variety of health issues and complications.
Stretching is a fantastic way to combat the muscle tension and stiffness that can happen when you sit for too long. Let’s review some stretches that can help you feel better and stay healthy. Hold each stretch for 15 seconds, and repeat as many times as needed.
1. Seated Backward Bend
This stretch is excellent for relieving tension in your neck, shoulders, and even upper back. Here are the steps for performing a seated backwards bend.
- Begin the stretch by sitting in your chair with your feet flat on the floor.
- Sit up tall and make sure your back is straight.
- Straighten both of your arms and move them back around either side of your chair.
- At the same time, bend your head backwards.
- Hold for about 10-15 seconds.
- Keeping your arms straight, move them forward, and bring your hands together.
- Interlace your fingers, rotate your hands towards you, and then push out on your fingers.
- At the same time, bring your head upright. Then lower your head down and try to get your chin to touch your chest.
2. Seated Spinal Twist
This exercise is great for relieving tension in your back and stretching out your spine. Here is how you perform a seated spinal twist.
- Begin the stretch by sitting in your chair with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor.
- Take your right leg and cross it over your left knee.
- Put your right hand on top of your left knee and your left hand on the left handle of your chair.
- Take a deep breath in and on the exhale, turn to your left and into your twist.
- Continue to breathe in and out for 30 seconds and return to center on your last exhale at the end of the 30 seconds.
- Uncross your leg, and return everything to center.
- Repeat on the other side.
3. Seated neck stretch
This exercise is ideal for relieving tension in the neck. Here is how to perform a seated neck stretch.
- Sit in your chair with your back tall and your feet flat on the floor. Hold your head and neck in a neutral position with your gaze forward.
- Tilt your head back as far as is comfortable.
- Bring your head back to your original position and then tilt your head forward, bringing your chin down as far as is comfortable.
4. Standing side stretch
To perform this exercise, you will need to stand and make sure you have enough room to move your body side-to-side. This stretch is ideal for stretching out your back and side muscles. Here is how to perform a standing side stretch.
- Make sure you are standing straight, with your feet separated..
- Raise your arms in the air, reach your hands together, and interlace your fingers.
- Turn your hand over and push out through your interlaced fingers.
- Tilt your body as far as you can to your left side.
- Return to center, and then tilt your body as far as you can to your right side.
5. Back stretch with a desk
This stretch is excellent for stretching out back muscles, especially those in the lower back. Here is how to perform a back stretch with a desk. Move your chair and anything else out of your way, so you have room.
- Stand up straight, leaving just a couple inches between your feet.
- Check to make sure you have enough room to bend over safely without hitting your desk.
- Once you have enough space, put your hands straight up in the air and bend straight over and rest your hands on your desk. Your hands and forearms should be flat on the desk.
6. Standing arm stretch
This stretch is ideal for your arms and shoulders. Here is how to perform a standing arm stretch.
- Stand up and keep your feet hip-width apart.
- Move your right arm across your body
- Move your left arm into a 90-degree angle. Have your left elbow cradle part of your right arm.
- Use your left arm to pull on your right arm for a stretch.
- Switch arms and repeat the stretch with your right elbow securing your left arm.
Sitting at a desk all day is not healthy for the body. It can cause muscle stiffness & tension, as well as back and shoulder pain. Regular stretching helps alleviate these issues by promoting healthy blood flow to the tissues.
When stretching, holding each position for 15 seconds is suggested. Do as many reps as necessary to relieve tension in your body. If a stretch causes pain, discontinue it. Set a reminder to stand and do these stretches once per hour.