In the hustle and bustle of a busy workday, it’s essential to prioritize our well-being and physical health. One often overlooked aspect of our health is stretching. As you perform the stretching practices below move slowly and deliberately and focus on bringing your full attention to the present moment and the sensations in your body. Pay attention to your breath and sensations in your body and note what you observe as you inhale and exhale. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath.
#1 Deep Neck Stretch
This practice should take around 30 seconds to complete.
Sitting at a desk for prolonged periods can cause tension and stiffness in the neck. A seated neck stretch helps alleviate neck tension and stiffness, improving flexibility and range of motion in the neck. This stretch promotes better posture, reduces stress, and may aid in minimizing headaches and neck pain, making it a valuable addition to a work routine.
This stretch can be done either seated or standing. Hold your right arm straight down your right side and shrug your right shoulder towards your ear as high as it can go. Then, take your left hand, put it over your head, and hold the right side. Slowly pull your left ear towards your left shoulder. To deepen this stretch, lower your right shoulder as low as it can go. To deepen this stretch even further, after lowering your right shoulder, while holding the same position, gently tip your chin up towards the ceiling. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds, then relax and repeat on the other side.
#2 Shoulder Rolls
This practice should take around 2 minutes to complete.
Shoulder rolls are a simple yet effective way to relieve tension and stiffness in the shoulders and upper back. They promote increased blood circulation, enhance shoulder flexibility, and provide a quick energy boost during a long workday. Incorporating shoulder rolls into your routine can significantly improve comfort and reduce the risk of developing muscle tightness or discomfort in the upper body.
While sitting or standing, roll your shoulders in a slow circular motion, moving them backward. Make sure you relax the muscles along your shoulders and neck. Continue the circular motion for 1 minute, take a short break, and then repeat once more.
#3 Wrist Stretch
This practice should take around 1-2 minutes to complete.
Typing and using a mouse for extended periods can strain the wrists. Wrist stretches help in preventing and alleviating wrist discomfort, reducing the risk of conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome. Additionally, they enhance wrist flexibility and improve overall hand mobility, promoting a healthier and more comfortable experience during work.
Extend one arm out, palm facing down, and gently press your fingers towards the ceiling with your other hand. Hold for 15-20 seconds and then flip your arm so that your palm is facing upwards and gently press your fingers towards the ground with your other hand. Hold for 15-20 seconds and then repeat the process on your other hand.
#4 Seated Full Back Stretch
This practice should take around 1.5-2.5 minutes to complete.
A seated full-back stretch is a valuable stretch that targets the whole back and spine, promoting improved spinal mobility and flexibility. By incorporating this stretch into your routine, you can alleviate stiffness, enhance posture, and potentially relieve back pain. The stretch engages and stretches the muscles along the spine, enhancing blood circulation and providing a sense of relaxation and rejuvenation.
Start by coming to a comfortable sitting position with your legs wide enough for your torso to fit between. Next, place your hands on the back of your head and begin to gently pull your chin to your chest until you feel a good stretch in your neck and upper back. Holding this position, round your upper back, in particular your shoulder blades, and bring your elbows down towards your knees. You should now feel the stretch from your neck to your middle back. Finally, holding your position, begin to pivot forward through your lower back and waist and bring your elbows down toward the floor as far as you can. You should now feel the stretch across your entire back. Hold this position comfortably for 20 to 30 seconds, relax, and then repeat 3 to 5 times.
#5 Standing Leg Stretch
This practice should take around 1 minute to complete.
The standing leg stretch is an excellent way to counteract the effects of prolonged sitting and sedentary work. This stretch focuses on the lower body, particularly the calves, and hamstrings, promoting improved leg flexibility and preventing muscle tightness. By enhancing blood circulation and reducing leg cramping, this stretch can boost overall comfort and mobility during the workday, ultimately contributing to increased productivity and well-being.
To practice this stretch, come to a standing position with one leg just in front of the other. Then, bend your back knee and press your weight back into it. Tilt your hips forward and hold for 20-30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.