Did you know that sitting for long periods of time is bad for your health? Studies have linked extended time seated with an increased risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even death. While many jobs keep you off your feet for hours, there are several ways you can combat stagnant seated postures. Try taking regular standing breaks, participating in calls and meetings upright, or investing in a standing desk. Furthermore, stretching throughout the day can help prevent cramps and improve blood circulation. This should increase energy and productivity.
Try these stretches at your desk!
These simple moves can help to relieve sitting pains, increase flexibility, and enhance concentration. Try taking a short break 2-3 times per day or more to stretch out and refocus! Perform each move below for 30-60 seconds. Breathe deeply and relax your mind while you stretch.
Take a few deep breaths in and out. With both feet flat on the floor and your back straight, gently roll your head in a circle — looking from one side, down to your chin, to the other side, and then slightly up with your head to the back. Slowly rotate your head in one direction for 15-30 seconds and then switch directions for another 15-30 seconds.
Sit or stand with your back straight and feet on the floor shoulder-width apart. With your arms relaxed at your sides pull your shoulders slowly up towards your ears until you feel a slight tension in the neck and shoulders. Hold for 5 seconds and then relax your arms back down to your sides. Repeat this shrugging motion 5 times.
Upper Body, Arm, and Side Stretch
Start with your feet planted on the floor in a seated or standing position. Interlock your fingers and stretch both arms overhead, palms facing upwards. Keeping your arms stretched overhead slowly reach your arms from one side to the other. Maintain the stretch for 15-30 seconds.
While seated or standing, raise your right arm above your head. Bend your arm at the elbow, reaching your hand down toward the left shoulder blade. Use your left hand to pull your bent elbow towards the head as comfortable, feeling a stretch in your tricep. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds before switching and repeating on the other side.
Seated Spinal Twist
Sit in a chair with your feet on the ground in front of you and your back straight. If the chair has arms, sit in the chair normally facing forward. If the chair does not have arms, sit on the right side of the chair facing outwards. Place both hands on one of the arms of the chair shoulder-width apart — or on the back of the chair if there are no arms — and twist yourself in the direction of your hands. You should feel a light stretch in the spine, chest, and neck. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds and then twist in the opposite direction. If you are using a chair without arms you will need to move to the other side of the chair to stretch the opposite side.
Knee to Chest
Start in a seated position in the front of your chair with hips and shoulders aligned and your feet on the floor. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, wrap your hands around your right knee and slowly pull it to your chest as comfortable. Hold the pose for 15-30 seconds. Switch and stretch the left side.
Keeping your back straight, sit in a chair with your feet planted on the ground in front of you. If your chair has arms you may need to sit forward in the seat to comfortably accomplish this move. Raise your right leg and cross your ankle over your left knee, opening the hips. Slowly push your right knee down for a deeper stretch as you breathe deeply for 15-30 seconds. Once finished, return to the starting position and perform the stretch with the left leg.
Sit towards the front of your chair with your back straight and feet on the ground, knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Extend your right leg forward until straight, placing your heel on the ground for support. Reach forward with both arms towards your right side toes. Hold the pose where comfortable for 15-30 seconds. Stretch a little further with each breath if you can. Return to a seated position and repeat the stretch on the left side.
While seated, lift your right leg slightly off of the ground and slowly rotate your foot and ankle around in a circle. Feel your foot stretch as you reach around the circle with your toes. Rotate for 15 seconds, switching directions throughout, before returning your foot to the ground. Switch to the left ankle to complete the stretch.
In just 10 minutes you can achieve this simple stretching routine without ever leaving your desk! If you have the opportunity, perform some of the stretches standing as noted to further increase movement and reduce time in the chair. Having stretched from head to toe you can return to your work feeling refreshed and refocused!
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