Stretch at Work for a Healthy Lifestyle
We’ve all heard it, “Sitting is the new smoking.” So, are you breaking up your 8-10 hour workday to maintain a healthy lifestyle? Maybe “deskercise” isn’t your thing, but stretching is for everyone! It will make such a difference in how you feel.
Stretching For a Healthy Lifestyle
What are the benefits of stretching? Stretching reduces fatigue, improves balance and posture, and even increases coordination. Taking a break every hour or two to do some quick stretches will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to be productive again.
Neck and Shoulders
If you get a stiff neck from staring at a computer screen (or texting!), this stretch is for you! Reach your hands behind you and clasp them together. Lean your neck to one side for 30 seconds, then switch. Repeat a few times to really feel the muscles release. Then, come back to a neutral head position, hands still behing your back, and slowly bend forward. You’ll feel this in your chest and shoulders.
If you’ve ever done yoga, you’ve probably done this pose before. Called “cat & cow,” it’s aptly named for the shapes you create with your back in each positions. You may want a little privacy for this one, since you’ll start on all fours on the floor. For “cat,” arch your back and push away from the floor with your hands. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds, then bring your back all the way down past neutral into the slightly saggy curve of the “cow.” Move slowly back and forth through cat and cow for a total of 10 times or a few minutes.
Take a few minutes to get up out of your chair and shake out those legs. March in place, take a walk, do a little dance – whatever strikes your fancy! Be sure to stretch out your hamstrings. Because of the way we sit in chairs, blood flow to the back of the legs is limited. Stand up tall, then bend over to reach your toes. It’s ok if you can’t reach them! Relax into the stretch for 30 seconds, and see if you can reach any farther. Stand, then repeat a few times.
If you take a few moments from your busy (but probably sedentary) day to stretch, your body and mind will thank you! Over time, you’ll notice less aches and pains at the end of the day related to sitting at your desk.