Best Stretches For Office Workers That Sit All Day
As technology grows more and more we find ourselves spending and increasingly amount of time in front of a computer. About 90% of the adult workforce works Monday - Friday 9am-5pm, most of that time staring at a computer screen. This daily occurrence causes so much stress in the entire body especially since we stay in one position for hours at a time in a less than ideal ergonomic set-up. All this stress causes back pain, hunched shoulders, headaches, and tightness all across the back, neck, and shoulders. This is why regular stretching and exercise are a must if you find yourself wearing out more easily.
You will find many benefits to stretching just 10 minutes every hour, from increased productivity, a reduce in headache causing eye strain, and less pain and tension throughout the body.
Keep reading to find 10 easy stretches to work into your day. Before you begin keep these in mind while you do each stretch to get the most of out of them.
-Set an alarm at 45-55 minute intervals to help remind you to take a break
-Hold the stretches for at least 15 seconds
-Dont forget to breathe into each stretch
-Avoid any exercises that cause any sort of pain
-Do as many reps as you can but aim for at least 10 minutes
- Chest and shoulder stretches are the best exercises you can do as you spend more of the time hunched forward.
Chest Stretch #1: This can be done seated or standing;
Take the arms behind and lace your fingers if you can with your arms straight. Gently raise your hands until you feel the stretch across your chest. Hold for 10-30 seconds.
Chest Stretch #2: Find a doorway and put your forearms on either side; gently lean forward till you feel the stretch across your chest.
- Shoulders and necks are where we tend to hold most of the tension and stress. Most people do not tend to realize they are hunching or scrunching until they take a break.
Shoulder stretch: This can be done seated or standing;
Raise your shoulders towards the ears tensing as hard as you can and hold for 1-2 seconds. Then relax and roll the shoulders done and back. Repeat the whole process 8-10 times and then switch rolling your shoulders forward instead.
- Along with the shoulders and neck, your upper back muscles between the shoulder blade tend to become tight blocking off circulation. Be reminded to set your monitor desk mounts arms to the correct posture to ensure you're not over extending your neck
Upper Back Stretch: This can be done seated or standing;
Raise your arms straight in front of you and rotate the hands so the backs face each other. Bring one straight arm over the other so the palms are now touching and facing each other. You can also lace your fingers if twisting hurts. With a straight back, brace the abs and round the back as you reach as far forward as you bringing your chin to chest. Hold for 10-30 seconds.
- After the upper body the lower back is the next area that gets sore the most. Most people experience tightness and an achy back. Make sure to not stretch too far, stop when you start to feel the stretch.
Lower Back Stretch: This should only be done sitting down.
With your feet flat on the ground, hold on the the chair handles and brace your abs and slowly twist your left shoulder to the right side. Make sure to keep your back straight and only move your torso and not the hips. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat with the right shoulder twisting to the left side. We highly recommend getting motorized adjustable desks as people invest in the manual pull up desks that can result in injury if they lift from an awkward angle. Investing in a good height adjustable with dual motors that can be adjusted by pressing the programmable keypads is something everyone should consider as we have seen and heard of many injuries caused by those manual pull up desks.
- No matter how aware you are of your posture, you will always sink back into a hunched position. Torso stretching tends to stretch a wide range of muscles at the same time which makes it one of the best ones you can do.
Torso Stretching: This can be done seated or standing;
Clasp your hands and lace your fingers together as you slowly stretch them up towards the sky. As you stretch as high as you can, breath deeply and then exhale as you release your hands and sweep them back down. Follow your breathing for timing and repeat 8-10 times.
- Typing all day may not be a hard thing to do as you tend to rest your hands and arms but all the finger movements cause the forearms to tighten without you noticing. These muscles aren’t as prominent in pain but over time can become more and more fatigued.
Forearm Stretch #1: This can be done seated or standing;
Stretch the right arm in front of you with your fingers pointing to the floor. Gently use the other hand to pull the fingers towards you for 10-30 seconds. Repeat with the other hand.
Forearm Stretch #2: With both arms straight in front of you rotate the wrists and draw circles with your hands first left then right.
- Tension in the neck can lead to headaches and upper back tension. We tend to lean your heads forward which causes a significant amount of pressure on the next muscles.
Neck Stretch: This should be done sitting down;
With your back straight and only moving your head, bring your right ear to your right shoulder without moving your left shoulder. Hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the left side. For a deeper stretch hold on to the chair as you stretch in the opposite direction.
- Sitting for long periods of time shorten and cause tightness in the hip flexors and cause lower back pain. Stretching this area can help reduce that tightness and forces you to get out of your chair!
Hip Flexor Stretch: This should be done standing up;
Take the right leg back a bit and bend the knee like you are doing a lunge. Squeeze the glute of the right leg to deepen the stretch. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat with the left leg.
- At the end of the day it’s best to stretch the hips and glutes as much as possible as these are the ones that we put the most pressure on. They are the muscles that we put all out weight on and have the least amount of movement throughout the day.
Seated Hip Flexor Stretch: This should be done sitting;
Cross the right ankle over the left knee as you sit up straight. Lean forward without breaking that straight back and keep going until you begin to feel the stretch in your hip and glute. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other side. To deepen the stretch press down on the leg that is crossed.
- The inner thigh is another area that holds tension but we tend to over look as the other parts of our body demand more attention. This stretch is best done in the comfort of your own home or when no one is around.
Inner Thigh Stretch: This should be done sitting down (when no one is looking);
Take the legs wide and lean forward with your toes out and elbow on the thighs. Straighten your back and brace your abs. Using the elbows on the thighs push them away as you lean forward more. Hold for 10-30 seconds and do as many rounds as you want. Remember to get up from your ergonomic office chair every hour to stretch those legs and get the circulation running or get an electric standing desk.
Please see additional studies done to improve better posture and strength while working with these stretches