You’re sitting in your cubicle 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. That’s a conservative estimate. While you’re there, you’re probably craning your head toward the monitor, as you slump in your chair. None of these things is a good thing.
Unless you’re diligent about your posture, sitting for long periods without taking breaks to stretch and move around can take a heavy toll on your entire body – not just your back.
Let’s review some stretching tips for office workers, to boost your circulation, give your muscles a needed break and support better spine health.
Once every hour
This stretching routine is designed to be performed every hour. It will improve your productivity, and your alertness, which are benefits your employer will no doubt appreciate.
Every stretch described here should be held for a minimum of 15 seconds.
- Chest: In a standing position, lace your fingers behind you, with your arms straight. Stand tall and hold in your abdominals. Now pull your hands upward. This will cause your chest to rise.
- Shoulders: Again, it’s best to do this stretch standing. Stand tall and pull your shoulders up as far as you can. Hold for a count of two and then roll them back to release the stretch. Repeat, rolling your shoulders forward. Alternate the forward/back roll for as many repetitions as you can.
- Back twist: While seated with feet flat on the floor, grip the armrests of your chair. Now slowly twist to the right as far as you comfortably can. Keep your hips square as you do this. Repeat on the other side.
- Neck: Sitting in your chair as described in the back twist, grip the right side of the bottom of your chair with your hand. Now tilt your head to the left. You’ll feel a stretch down the right side of your neck. Repeat with left hand/right head tilt.
- Forearm: With the right arm straight out in front of you, bend your wrist so that your fingertips are pointed at the floor. With your left hand, gently push the right hand, until you feel a stretch. Repeat on the left. Now reverse the exercise. With your right arm straight, bend the wrist, so your fingertips are pointed at the ceiling. With the left hand, gently push the fingers back. This stretches the fingers, hands, and underside of the forearm.
The stretches shown above take very little time and you’ll find that doing them regularly will reduce pain and stiffness often occasioned by sitting for long periods of time, in less-than-ideal postures.
But I’m going to add a bonus to this advice and tell you that your circulatory system suffers from excessive sitting also. That’s especially true of the lower legs and feet.
Instead of vegging out at lunchtime, leave the office. Walk around the block, or to a restaurant a few blocks away to pick up food. You’ll thank me later.
Got pain? Back & Body is the multi-disciplinarian solution to all types of pain.