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Man working at desk in office stretching his back at desk

Do you find yourself stiff from sitting?

Many of us work jobs that don’t lend themselves to a lot of physical activity, or even movement, for that matter. And we now know that sitting for prolonged periods can have a detrimental effect on various body parts including the neck, back, shoulders and even the heart and circulatory system.

But you don’t need to let sitting all day cramp your style. Light stretching throughout the day can work the muscles, promote circulation and help alleviate the pain, stiffness and discomfort caused by sitting. There are simple stretches you can do right at your desk.

First things first

Prior to stretching, stand up, walk in place and shake out your arms and legs. This will help warm up your muscles in preparation to stretch. Try to do this for at least two minutes if you’ve been sitting for a while. Once you begin, don’t strain your muscles while stretching, so be sure to only hold each stretch to the point you can feel slight tension.

The following are various stretches you can do to help your different muscle groups. Now, let’s get stretching.

Head tuck and turns

  1. Start with your head facing straight.
  2. Turn your head to the right and hold for 15 seconds.
  3. Slowly turn your head forward to the start position.
  4. Lower your chin to your chest and hold for 10 seconds.
  5. Slowly raise your head back to the start position.
  6. Turn your head to the left and hold for 15 seconds.
  7. Slowly turn your head forward to the start position.

Hand tension tamer

  1. With your arms raised in front of you, open the palm of your hand as wide as you can to stretch your fingers. Hold for 15 seconds.
  2. Relax your hands for five seconds.
  3. Clench your fists for 15 seconds.
  4. Relax your hands for five seconds and slowly lower your arms.
  5. Wiggle your fingers to relieve tension and promote circulation.

Leg stretches

  1. Sit down while holding the seat of your chair.
  2. Extend your legs out straight while raising your feet a few inches from the floor. Hold for 10 seconds.
  3. Flex and point your toes five times.
  4. Slowly lower your legs.

Belly button pulls

  1. Start in a seated position with your back straight. Keep your head up and eyes forward.
  2. Tighten your abdominal muscles as if you were bringing your bellybutton back toward your spine. At the same time, take a deep breath.
  3. Hold your muscles for 15 seconds while slowly inhaling and exhaling.
  4. When you reach 15 seconds, take another deep breath, followed by a deep exhale.
  5. Slowly relax your muscles.

Upper-body stretch

  1. Place your hands behind your head, right above your neck. This is where you’ll want to keep your hands for the duration of the stretch. Your elbows should be up so that your upper arms are parallel to the ground.
  2. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you slowly pull back your elbows.
  3. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds.
  4. Relax and return to the start position.

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