Are you feeling the stiffness at your desk? Did you know that office jobs can have just as much physical impact than construction or manufacturing jobs? With repetitive motion and poor posture, musculoskeletal disorders can worsen and cause severe pain and discomfort. Stress can form along with lower back pain, carpal tunnel and neck and shoulder conditions. There is even the risk for cardiovascular disease. So how do we avoid such possible damage to our bodies? The good news is there are many easy exercises and stretches you can do directly at your desk.
- Triceps Stretching: Raise your arm and bend it so that your hand reaches towards the opposite side. Use your other hand and pull the elbow toward your head. Hold for 10-30 seconds then repeat on your other side.
- Overhead Reach: Extend each arm overhead. Reach to the opposite side. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
- Upper Body Arm Stretch: Clasp hands together above the head with palms facing outward. Push your arms up, stretching upward.
- Shoulder Stretch: Clasp hands behind your back. Push the chest outward and raise your chin. Hold for 10-30 seconds.
- Forward Stretch: Clasp your hands in front of you and lower your head in line with your arms.
- Hip and Knee Stretch: Hug one knee at a time, pulling it toward your chest. Hold the pose for 10 seconds then alternate.
- Hamstrings Stretch: Remain seated and extend one leg outward. Reach toward your toes. Hold for 10-30 seconds then repeat with the other leg.
- Head and Shoulder Stretch: Raise both shoulders at once up towards the ears. Drop them and repeat 10 times.
- Neck Stretch: Relax and lean your head forward. Slowly roll toward one side and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Relax again and lift your chin back to starting position. Do this 3 times for each direction.
- Upper Trap Stretch: Gently pull your head towards each should until a light stretch is felt. Hold the pose for 10-15 seconds. Alternate once on each side.
Stretching improves your range of motion, posture and provides much needed stress relief. It can reduce pain and can even help reduce mental stress. Other forms of office exercise you can try are walking laps during a break, getting a flexible standing desk so you can change your position, or standing while on the phone. You should be changing your position every hour, so set a reminder and work those kinks out!