Stretches are basic ways to maintain stability and flexibility, prevent injuries and ensure normal range of motion. They are usually employed before and after workouts, but for those working in offices, there are also certain stretches that you can do to cater to office workers’ needs. Your local Tampa chiropractor can even demonstrate proper form for you.
Those working at desks for prolonged periods usually suffer from musculoskeletal injuries such as neck pain and stiffness, back pains, and leg pains aside from circulation problems. Stretches done regularly help prevent these occupational-related complaints and also maintain optimum performance at work. If you are working in offices in front of your desks or computers, the following are the simple, yet effective stretches that you can employ:
- Reach for the sky stretch
After some time at work, you may feel slumped or sleepy. This stretch awakens you and helps bring back your energy to work. It also helps stretch the forearm especially for those who have been typing or writing for quite some time. To do this, sit or stand in front of your desk. Extend your arms upward as if reaching the sky. You may feel a stretch in your arms and shoulders. Maintain the position for at least 20 seconds.
- Neck stretch
Your neck also receives much tension when you work at your desk because of a forward head posture. Perform neck stretches to avoid neck stiffness and pain. First, rotate your neck joint clockwise and counterclockwise for 10 counts. Next, use your right arm to grasp your left ear with your forearm over your head. Gently pull your head towards the right side and maintain the position for 20 seconds and repeat on the other side. Furthermore, flex your neck forward with your chin towards your chest. Use your overlapped hands to push your head at the back for a more effective stretch. This releases tension on the nape area.
- Shoulder stretch
Your shoulders may also suffer from prolonged sitting and typing. Stretch the area by bringing your right arm across your chest. Using your left arm, grasp your right arm and pull towards the side. Repeat on the opposite direction after 20 seconds.
- Side stretch
Moving downwards, perform a side stretch to release tension on your obliques and back. While seated, twist your trunk towards the right side with your head facing the same direction as your trunk. Grasp the left edge of your chair with your left hand and stretch your body further to the right side. After counts of 20, repeat on the opposite direction.
- Leg stretch
Lastly, you need to stretch your legs and feet to promote proper circulation after prolonged period of sitting. Extend both legs in front of you on another chair. Dorsiflex the feet (the toes are pointing towards you) for at least 20 seconds. This releases tension on the calf muscles, contracts your quadriceps, stretches your hamstrings and stretches your plantar fascia at the soles of your feet for a holistic leg stretch.
These stretches are the most basic ways to exercise at your work desk. Make sure to employ these stretches every 2 hours to relieve tension off your body and prevent the development or build-up of stress, which may cause complaints such as back pains, neck pains, and leg pains.