When you’re stuck behind a desk or computer all day, your muscles can get tense from being in the same cramped position for too long. Luckily, these five exercises can be done in the office, from your desk or at home. Not only will they relieve tension in the moment, they can help prevent complications in the future if you do them consistently.
You don’t even have to get up for this one. Sit up straight in your chair and place one of your hands on the outside of the opposite thigh. Gently push against that thigh as you relax your shoulder and turn toward the arm that’s reaching. As you twist your torso, hold the stretch for about 15 seconds. Switch to the other side and repeat a few times. Don’t forget to breathe!
Sitting up straight, drop your head so that your ear is resting on one of your shoulders. Slowly and deliberately roll your head to the front so that your chin is against your chest, and then towards the opposite shoulder. You should feel a slight stretch in the opposite direction. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds to a minute and repeat as necessary throughout the day.
Anterior shoulder stretch
Sometimes called the arm-across-the-shoulder stretch, this exercise involves pulling your straightened arm across your body with your opposite hand holding it in place at the elbow and applying slight pressure. You should feel a slight pull at the back of your shoulders. Keep your arm elevated at chest level and hold the position for about 30 seconds on each side.
Lower back handclasp
Lean slightly forward in your chair and clasp your hands together behind your back while keeping it straight. Your fingers should be interlocked as you slowly extend your arms out behind you. Raise your arms slowly to deepen the stretch and hold for about 30-60 seconds once you’re at a comfortable level.
Get up and take a water or bathroom break. As you pass through the doorway, spread your arms out and grip the doorway with your hands at or below shoulder level – depending on your comfort and the width of the door. Keep your back straight as you lean forward through the doorway and shift your weight to your toes until you feel a slight stretch at the front part of your shoulders. Repeat as you’re returning for an easy and convenient stretch.
It’s also important to practice good posture and find a chair that supports your back – as well as shoes that offer sufficient reinforcement if you’re going to be standing all day. Pay attention to how you hold yourself and relax if you notice that you’re clenching your muscles. Little adjustments here and there can go a long way in safeguarding against chronic pain and muscle or nerve damage in the future.