Top 5 Stretches To Do At Work

Dec 8, 2014 by Suzanne Zilkowsky | Fitness

As our work demands that we sit for longer hours in front of computer screens, behind desks, or at check-out counters, many of us are now noticing negative changes in our bodies. With major advances in computer technology, experts are suggesting that future trends in the workplace could lead to even more time spent sitting.

Although many of us have chosen jobs that entail sedentary roles, we are not without the knowledge to help alleviate tight and sometimes injured muscles caused from sitting.

A study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine showed that workers who spent 95% of their day sitting increased their risk of neck pain. So let's take a look at the average Canadians work day. Most will arrive at work by 8a.m and remain seated until lunch, unless they are lucky enough to get one short coffee break in between. After lunch they will spend another four hours at their desk where they will remain seated with their hamstrings shortening and deep neck flexors weakening. Not forgetting to tack on more time travelling to and from work by car, bus, or even subway.

How can you reduce harmful effects of prolonged sitting? Here are 5 simple stretches that will help increase your flexibility, improve your circulation and help improve your posture.

Chest Stretch

  1. Push your chair back from your desk and sit near the front edge.
  2. Bend forward slightly and pull your arms behind you so that they rest on the top portion of the back of your chair palms facing down. If you cannot reach the top of your chair, hold on to the sides of the chair instead.
  3. Relax your shoulders down and back and focus on pulling your chest forward.
  4. Hold this stretch for several breaths making sure to inhale and exhale slowly, then release.

Wrist Stretch

  1. Stand up and face the front of your desk.
  2. Place your hands on your desk so that your wrists face your computer and your fingers face towards yourself.
  3. Lean with gentle pressure in to the wrists and flatten your palms as much as possible without causing any pain. You should feel a moderate stretch only.

Shoulder Rolls

  1. Sit tall in your chair and inhale slowly as you raise your right shoulder up towards your right ear.
  2. Allow yourself to exhale then slowly roll your right shoulder around and backwards, dropping it down away from your ear.
  3. Repeat these shoulder rolls several more times, alternating between both sides.

Spinal Stretch

  1. Inhale and sit up tall, as you exhale twist to the right and hold on to the back of your chair with your right hand.
  2. Reach and hold on to the arm of your chair with your left hand.
  3. Allow your gaze to move over your left shoulder or right hand. Keep lengthening your spine upwards as you twist. Hold this position for several breaths, inhaling and exhaling deeply.
  4. Slowly release the stretch and return to facing forward in your chair.
  5. Repeat this stretch on the other side.

Neck Stretch

  1. Sit tall in your chair without the aid of the backrest. Make sure to hold your head in proper alignment with your spine. (Don't let your head jut forward)
  2. Inhale and as you breath out, let your right ear drop down to you right shoulder without lifting your right shoulder or turning your head. Inhale and exhale several breaths allowing the left side of your neck to stretch.
  3. Slowly lift your head back up and switch sides to repeat this stretch on the other side.

Author: Suzanne Zilkowsky

As the founder of Vancouver Health Coach, Suzanne brings a unique blend of experience gained working in the health industry for over 20 years. Her coaching offers an individualized process to help you move forward in life. She provides coaching tools and assists with strategies to promote self-discovery and the exploration of different perspectives to help inspire you to reach your health and wellness goals. She has had great success with her clients by taking a holistic approach to health. Suzanne believes every individual requires support, knowledge and compassion to achieve great health and wellness.