Sitting all day can take a toll on your body.
But how can people who work at a desk find ways to stay healthy and fit?
The answer: stretching. Stretching is an effective way not only to keep your body in shape and pain-free but also to keep you productive and attentive. It can even help improve your posture!
Try these stretches for all-day energy, improved muscle tone, and decreased pain.
Sit up straight with your feet planted on the floor. Gently roll your head to your right shoulder, roll to the front with your chin to your chest, and then roll your head to your left shoulder. Do not roll your head back, as this can cause undue stress on your spinal column. Continue to do this for 10-15 seconds, breathing deeply.
Back Stretch (Spinal Twist)
As you’re seated, twist your torso to the left so that your chin is over your shoulder and you are looking behind you. Use the chair handles for a deeper stretch, but don’t overdo it. You should stop if the stretch feels painful. Hold for 10-30 seconds. Remember to breathe, and do the same thing on your right side.
Extend your arms over your head and clasp your fingers together. Gently bend your body to the left and hold for 10-20 seconds, breathing deeply. Repeat on the other side.
You can do this seated or standing. Lace your fingers behind your back, if you can, and straighten and lift your arms until you feel a gentle pull in your chest. Hold for 10-30 seconds. Avoid this stretch if you have shoulder problems.
Seated Hip Stretch
When seated, place your right ankle over your left knee. Lean forward with a straight back and stop when you feel a tug in your right hip and glute. Hold for 10-30 seconds, and repeat on the other side. To deepen the stretch, place your hand on your knee and press down gently.
These stretches only take a little time, but they have huge benefits.
Looking for other ways to get moving?
Get a standing desk, or improvise and use a high surface.
Walk and talk when you have meetings.
Take a few laps around the office every hour.
If you struggle with poor posture or lower back pain, these stretches can help you look and feel better. If you just want to work in a little activity at work, these stretches will help you burn calories and improve your muscle tone. For everyone else, a little leisurely movement during the day can improve your mental wellbeing, especially as you age, and who doesn’t want that?