If you're sitting at your computer right now reading this article, you're doing some serious harm to your body...not moving. And to make it worse, it's not that you're just sitting still, it may also be the way you are sitting. Are you slouching? Is your head leaning forward over your torso? According to Physiology of the Joints, Volume Three; " For every inch your head moves forward, it gains ten pounds of weight as far as the muscles in your upper back and neck are concerned." OUCH!
Enter - awkard desk stretching exercises. These humbling workplace stretches can improve flexibility, reduce pain and relieve physical and mental stress. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, "physical activity- even for a short period of time- can improve your mood." Below are some some easy stretches and desk exercises to do during the day at your desk and around the office. You will notice an awesome attitude and healthy posture are proof that it works! So all of you desk jockeys, take note:
Neck and Upper Body Stretches: These stretches will help prevent and reduce stiffness in your neck after sitting at your desk all day:
While sitting at your desk, grab underneath your chair with one hand, make sure your shoulders are behind the midline of your body.Reach over your head with your other hand and grab right above your opposite ear, lean towards the arm that is over your head and stretch your neck. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds.
Bend your head forward and slowly roll from side to side, move very slow and do about 15 to 20 reps.
Clasp both hands behind your back, and raise your chin, stare up at the ceiling, hold for about 15 seconds. Repeat throughout the day.
Gently pull each elbow to the opposite side, over your head, so you are essentially reaching for your opposite shoulder blade. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds, do 5 reps each side.
Shrugs- Raise both shoulders at once up towards your ears, drop them and repeat as many times as you would like.
Pole or Doorway stretch- Reach right arm back, so fingers grasp the outside edge of the pole. Keep your arm straight and at or just under shoulder level. Turn your body to the left until you feel a pull in the chest muscles, hold 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
These are focused on the upper body and neck. Now the challenge is to incorporaate the stretching into your daily routine. Stay tuned for some lower body stretches and exercises that you can do at your desk to help with low back pain that can be caused from sitting on your tush all day.