Your life is busy. You barely have time for morning coffee, so you drink it at your desk at work. We know drinking your morning cup of joe isn’t the only thing you save for work, but have you ever considered stretching at the office? Stretching will not only help relieve the stress of a regular work day, but can protect posture and prevent neck, back, and shoulder pain that may be a consequence of sitting at a desk for more than 8 hours a day.
If you’re experiencing back and neck pain that just doesn’t seem to go away with simple stretches, you may need professional chiropractic treatment. A chiropractor will be able to help you pinpoint the problem and come up with a healthy way to fix it.
Here are 5 seated stretches you can do at your desk:
Reach the Sky
This is probably one of the most common stretches people do standing up when they’re first waking up in the morning. It stretches your arms, neck, and back, while helping to straighten your back and perfect your posture.
How to do it: Keep your arms shoulder-width apart and reach up to the sky as high as you can without leaving your seat. Hold that for 5-10 seconds and release. You can take this one step further and reach your arms up to the sky and touch your palms together to form a point. Keeping your arms as straight as they can be, bend slowly to the right until you feel a mild stretch along your obliques. Hold for a few seconds and return to center. Stretch to the sky and bend slowly to the left. When you’re done, return to center, push your pointed palms to the sky for a deep stretch and lean back slowly to stretch your back. Keep your back straight and do not arch it.
This one is called sitting eagle based on the yoga pose, eagle, which normally requires your legs. We’re taking just the upper-body part of that pose for this next sitting stretch. It’s great for your shoulders, neck, and upper back.
How to do it: Keep your back straight and shoulders down. Twist your arms around each-other so that the bottom-side of your hands are touching fingers to palm. You want to twist as much as possible to get the deepest stretch. Hold the stretch and when you’re ready, switch position of your arms into the opposite eagle position.
If you’re having a hard time with this stretch, your upper back muscles may be tight and the more you do this stretch it will get easier. With each stretch you should feel less tightness in your upper-back. This is great for office workers who get tight upper-back and shoulders due to hunching over computers and desks all day.
Touch Your Toes
This next one you probably remember from gym-class when you were in grade school. If you were one of the students who couldn’t ever touch their toes, don’t worry, this stretch is a lot easier when sitting down. This stretch will help tense shoulders, neck, and back.
How to do it: Move your chair away from your desk so that you have room to bend forward. Place your bended legs hip-width apart and your back straight. Once you’re in position, bend straight forward and try to touch your toes on the floor. Now you can release your hold on your toes and relax your shoulders, letting your arms dangle. Bend your neck so that your chin reaches your chest and remember to keep your back straight.
Touch Your Toes (with Legs)
This stretch takes the other one a little bit further to include stretching your bottom limbs as well as your neck, back, and shoulders to decrease fatigue and induce relaxation throughout the day.
How to do it: Turn your chair to the side of your desk so that you have enough room to lift and stretch your legs out straight. Now, with a straight back and shoulders relaxed, reach to your toes. Reach as far as you can to your toes comfortably so that you feel a mild stretch in your legs and thighs. If finding your balance is too difficult, you can do this stretch one leg at a time. Pull your chin into your chest to get that extra neck and back stretch.
Simple Body Twist
This stretch will help improve flexibility throughout your back and obliques.
How to do it: While sitting in your chair, straighten your back. Slowly twist to one side using your chair for leverage. Once you’ve reached a comfortable stretch, hold it for a few seconds and release. Twist to the other side and hold it for a few seconds and release.