It’s so easy to get caught up in your work and just plow through your task list without even stopping. While doing that can make you feel super productive, sitting hunched over at your desk for hours on end can be a pain – literally. By taking only a few minutes a day, you can relieve tension and increase your energy with these simple stretches.
- Begin by inhaling deeply and shrugging your shoulders to your ears.
- Raise your shoulders high and hold them, then release and drop.
- Repeat this three to four times.
- You can also add shaking the head yes and no to further release and relax the neck and shoulders.
Shoulder and Upper back stretch
- Place one hand on top of the other, palms facing out.
- Slowly reach straight up, keeping shoulders pressed down and back.
- You can look up to the hands for a deeper stretch.
- If that is too much range for your shoulders, modify by bringing the arms slightly forward.
- Another addition to this exercise would be a lateral stretch to the right and left maintaining shoulder placement.
Upper body twist
- Inhale and exhale, turn to the right and grab the back of your chair with your right hand, and the arm of your chair with the left.
- Keep your eyes level and look straight behind you. Slowly come back to facing forward. Repeat on the other side.
- This can be done one to two times on each side.
- Begin by holding on to a stable object for balance.
- Lift the leg towards your buttocks.
- Keep your standing leg slightly bent.
- Maintain upright posture while keeping knees close together.
- If it’s challenging to reach your foot, you can modify by holding the working leg with your pants or just bend and hold.
- Start by sitting near the end of your chair.
- Keep one leg bent to 90 degrees and the opposite leg extended with heel resting on the floor.
- Maintain a straight back and lean forward from the hips.
- You can also do the same stretch while standing. Start by bending one leg, extending the opposite leg out straight and hinging over that leg for a stretch.
Basic stretching guidelines
- It’s important to warm up before stretching with five to ten minutes of light aerobic activity.
- You should perform stretches most days.
- The intensity of the stretch should be a hold until a gentle pull is felt on the muscle, not the joint.
- For the maximum benefit of the stretch you can hold for 15-30 seconds, making sure you do the stretches to both sides of the body.
- Gradually you will see an increase in flexibility. Do not try to gain too much range in one session. It may take weeks to see results.
Workout designed & demonstrated by Monica A., Group Fitness Instructor, OhioHealth McConnell Heart Health Center.
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