Dr Jessica Sammut
5 Areas you can Stretch at Your Desk
When you spend about eight hours of your day sitting at a desk, looking at a screen, and talking on the phone, it is anything but cushy on your body. In fact, even though you may be sitting all day, it can be downright exhausting! From tensing up our shoulders to hunching over a desk to RSI in our wrists, our body cops a beating when you’re stuck at a desk all day long.
Below are some very simple, but beneficial stretches you can do from the comfort of your desk, to help keep some of those aches at bay.
1. Neck and shoulders
Place your hand on your shoulder, and draw circles with your elbow 10x forwards, 10x backwards. You will get a great stretch through your chest, and you’ll feel your shoulder blades moving around on your back – all from the comfort of your chair.
Sit on your right hand, palm facing up. Gently bring your left ear down towards your left shoulder until you feel a stretch. Hold for 15 seconds. Then turn your nose towards your left armpit. Hold for 15 seconds. Then repeat to on the other side.
2. Shoulder blades and ribs
Place your forearms on the desk, and cross them, and then rest your forehead on your arms. Gently wheel your chair backwards, and let your upper back dip between your shoulder blades.
Shoulder blade squeezes
Place your hands up as if you’re holding a steering wheel. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold for 15 seconds. Then, try to do the opposite, and stretch and arch your shoulder blades. From this stretched position, squeeze the shoulder blades back together. Repeat 10x.
3. Hips and legs
Prolonged sitting, mainly if you don’t do it correctly, can affect blood circulation, especially in your legs.
Hamstring and calf stretch
Remain seated and extend your legs. Then, try to reach down towards your toes. Return to a starting position and repeat the same process a few more times or whenever you can.
Using a wheelie chair, plant your right foot on the ground, and keep your left foot loose. Keeping your body neutral and straight, use your left leg to rotate your chair to the left. You should feel a gentle stretch in your groin. Return to the centre, and then swap legs, stretching the other side.
Sit to stand chair squats
To perform chair squats, you should stand a foot in front of your chair and lower yourself down until your bottom hits the edge of the chair. Squeeze your cheeks together, and pop back up. Repeat the same process.
As easy as it sounds. Literarily squeezing your bum cheeks together, you’ll feel the muscle tense up and harden. The tension will cause you to raise up slightly. Hold for 5 seconds, and then release. Repeat through the day as many times as you remember. It’s especially useful to remember to squeeze when you are getting up out of your chair, to take the pressure off your low back.
5. Wrist and hand
Stand up, place wrists onto your desk. Start with the fingertips on the edge of the desk, and palms are face down, and then start applying pressure until you feel the stretch. Hold for 10 seconds, and then fold the wrists over so that your knuckles are against the desk. Hold. Finish with a few wrist circles, forwards and backwards. Do this exercise several times a day to ease the tension on your wrists.