When many of us work at desks during the day, it’s easy for our muscles to get tight. It's important to take a break to get the blood flowing and work out those accumulated kinks. There are plenty of awesome stretches you can do in the office, many right at your desk! Below are some of our favorites. (But if any of these stretches don’t feel right, stop! Part of maintaining health and wellness is listening to your body.)
While sitting, the hip flexors (located at the front of the hips) can get especially tight. Keep them limber by getting up (standing up at intervals is important too!) and placing one foot behind you, keeping your hips square. Stretch your back heel toward the floor, but keep your weight in the ball of your foot. Bend your knees until you feel a stretch through the front of the hip and hold for 30 seconds. Use the back of your chair for balance, if needed. Be sure to stretch both sides equally!
Try as you might to avoid it, it’s easy to slowly curl forward toward the keyboard. Open your chest by placing your hands behind your head. Pull the shoulder blades together and hold for 15 seconds. Repeat three times. Alternatively, clasp your hands behind your back, arms straight. Pull the shoulders together, lifting the hands away from your tailbone.
Your forearms, wrists and hands get quite a workout at the keyboard. Be sure to treat them right! Put your arm straight out in front of you and flex your hand, fingers pointing up. Grab the palm with your other hand and gently pull. You should feel this stretch in your forearm. Hold for thirty seconds, and repeat twice more. Flip your hand so that your fingers point downward, and repeat three times. Repeat with the other arm.
4. lower back
Lower backs can always use some extra love. Sit straight in your chair, with both feet on the floor. Grasp one shin and pull it towards your chest. Be careful to continue sitting straight; don’t lean forward or back. Hold for thirty seconds. As a bonus, after your thirty second stretch, rotate your ankle ten times to the right, then ten to the left before releasing your leg. Repeat with the other side.
5. upper back
Many people talk about storing tension in their shoulders and upper back. It’s time to release some of that. Sit up straight with both feet on the floor. Reach both arms out in front of you and rotate your palms outward. Place one arm over the other so that you can bring your palms together (a variation would be to place your hands flat on top of each other). Slowly arch your upper back, bringing your chin to your chest. Feel your shoulders opening.
Check out these resources for more great stretches to incorporate into your work day: Mayo Clinic, Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety.
Of course, another great way to give your body a rest from sitting is to go for a walk. Take a turn about the office, around the building, or around the block. If you need a destination, stop in the break room for a piece of fresh fruit. Learn more about having fruit delivered to your office break room by visiting our Office Deliveries page.