Long day at the office? You feel like you can’t move your body anymore, like sitting in front of a desk all day long has wreaked havoc on your body, particularly because you (and most human beings) don’t have the best posture.
Many of us hunch our shoulders and slump in our seats while working for long hours. This tendency can cause multiple discomforts in the body, including back pain, headaches, tension and tightness in your back, neck and shoulders.
In the following article, we bring you a number of stretches that target the muscles of the back, neck and shoulders as well as the hips and glutes. These stretches allow the muscles to relax and extend back into their correct posture. It also helps to release toxic materials that build up during these long hours behind the desk. Taking time to do some of these stretches throughout the day can help increase flexibility and reduce tension and stress.
1. Shoulder stretch:
This exercise allows your neck to relax and take the pressure off your spine–caused by holding your head up for a long duration.
Sitting or standing, place the tips of the fingers on your right hand to the left side of your forehead. Tilt your head in a corner while softly using your fingers to bring your head closer towards your shoulder. Be careful not to overdo it. While doing this stretch, your left shoulder should be in a neutral position.
Hold the stretch between 20-60 seconds, then repeat it on the other side.
2. Shoulder Shrugs:
The shoulders and neck are stress and tension stations in your body, especially if you are spending your day clicking and typing.
Sitting or standing, lift both shoulders up towards your ears and squeeze them as hard as possible. Hold for two seconds before you roll them back and relax down. Repeat this for 8-10 reps.
3. Upper Back Stretch:
Do you tend to hunch your shoulders and back all the time? Maybe you use your shoulder to hold your phone while you’re typing or using the mouse. This upper body stretch can help loosen up any resultant stress.
Stretch your arms straight forward and rotate your hands so that your palms face away from each other. Now, cross the arms so the palms are pressed together. Contract the abs and round your back. Imagine yourself curving up and over an imaginary ball that is resting in your lap. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds, and repeat it no more than twice.
4. Spinal Twist:
Who wants to feel tightness or archness in their spine? This stretch will help gently work out some of that tension.
In a seating position, with your feet both flat on the floor and your knees at a 90 degrees bend, contract your abs perfectly before gently twisting the torso towards the right. Hold on to the side of the chair and use your hands to help deepen the stretch, but only twist as far as you comfortably can and keep the back straight while keeping the hips square. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
5. Torso Stretch
The simpler and more natural the stretch, the more effective it is. This stretch is one of the most natural movements the human body is capable of, and it helps to release all the tension in your arms, sides and back.
Sitting or standing, hold both palms together (don’t lace the fingers, so you won’t lock the blood in your hands) and stretch them up towards the ceiling. Take a deep breath as you stretch up as high as you can, then exhale and open the arms, sweeping them back down. Repeat for 8-10 reps.
6. Hip Flex Stretch:
The lower body can also gets tight and tense due to sitting for a long time, especially the front of the hips. When you sit, your glutes stretch and relax while the hip flexors get tighter. This stretch can reduce any resultant discomfort.
While standing, take the right leg back as though you're going to do a lunge. Squeeze the glutes as you bend the knees, lowering down until you feel a stretch in the front of the right hip. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Another hip stretch would be to sit in your chair, and keep your posture nice and tall. Now, cross the right ankle over the left knee and gently lean forward, trying to keep the back straight and reaching out with the torso until you feel a stretch in the right glute and hip. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat to the other side.