By Nicole Tinkham
You may not notice it right away but sitting at a desk for 8+ hours a day, 5 days a week can be straining on your whole body. In fact, 9 out of 10 workers experience pain simply by the way they sit at their desk. You may even think you’re doing everything right but you could actually be missing a crucial piece of the puzzle. We could go on all day about office ergonomics but for this post, we’ll focus on 5 simple stretches you can do right at your desk for a more comfortable work day.
But FIRST, let’s talk about correct posture. Here are some things to keep in mind.
• Sit with your back resting against the chair. Most people tend to lean forward so a foot rest may be exactly what you need to maintain a neutral position. This will help you keep your back against the chair from top to bottom.
• Sit up straight and don’t round your shoulders.
• Both of your feet should be flat on the floor (or on a foot rest) with your knees level with your hips. No crossing your legs or sitting on your foot!
• Keep your monitor about an arms length away to prevent strain on the eyes. Your gaze should be just over the top of the monitor.
• Keep your wrists straight and if using a wrist rest, make sure that your PALM is resting on it, not your wrist.
It may take time to get used sitting in the correct posture but start focusing on how you’re sitting at your desk and eventually you won’t even have to think about it anymore. We recommend setting a timer on your phone to remind you to do the following desk stretches. They only take a couple minutes of your time and are super simple.
Stretch #1: The Seated Leg Stretch
Sit on the edge of your seat and stretch one leg out straight in front of you. The other leg should remain bent with your foot flat on the floor. Point your toes of the stretched leg upward, resting your heel on the floor. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat three more times. Now switch to the other leg.
Why: Sitting for long periods of time causes your hamstrings to tighten.
Stretch #2: The Neck Stretch
This is a 3-part stretch so let’s break it down:
• Rock your head up and down as if you were nodding.
• Turn your head to the left and right like you’re shaking your head “no”.
• Tilt your head to each shoulder without moving your shoulders.
Complete each stretch for about 15 seconds and repeat 3 times.
Why: Sitting at a desk can cause a stiff neck and shoulders.
Stretch #3: The Chest Stretch
Sitting forward in your chair, stretch both arms out to the side with your thumbs pointing up to the ceiling. Your shoulders are back and you should feel a stretch in your chest. You can even draw your shoulder blades together. Hold this stretch for 20 seconds and release. Repeat three more times.
Why: This will help you keep proper posture with your shoulders back when sitting at the desk and typing all day.
Stretch #4: The Quad Stretch
Now we ask you to stand up (sorry). Stand in front of your desk and place one hand on the desk to balance. Raise the opposite leg behind you and aim your heel toward your butt. Grab your foot with your free hand and hold for 20 seconds. Repeat the stretch 3 more times and then switch sides. You should feel the stretch along the thigh of the raised leg.
Why: To loosen up the quads and prevent future knee and lower back injury.
Stretch #5: The Chair Twist
You can go ahead and sit back down on your chair. Sit forward and cross one arm across your body and place it on the armrest. Place your other hand on the top of the chair. Keeping your feet flat on the ground, rotate your head and upper body in the direction of the hand that’s on the armrest. Have you ever cracked your back twisting the upper half of your body while sitting in a chair? You’re basically doing the same thing in this stretch. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat 3 more times. Do the same on the opposite side.
Why: To prevent back aches and pains.
We bet that if you start doing these quick stretches every day and pay close attention to your posture, you’ll start feeling much better. Even if you aren’t currently in pain, it can prevent future pain which is huge deal. You shouldn’t have to work through the pain. Do what you need to do to be comfortable at work. It’s important.
Once you start doing these stretches, tell us how you feel over on our Facebook page!