9 Simple Stretches You Can Do From Your Office Chair
These days many of us spend 8 hours or more at work hunched over a desk or computer, only to come home and resume the same position with our phones or tablets to relax. It is no wonder then that the National Health Priority (NHPA) reports almost 80% of Australians suffer from back pain given this modern tendency to sit for long hours with poor posture. We can however start to reverse the effects of inactivity just by including some simple stretches in our day without any fancy equipment or even a lot of space. Many of these stretches can even be done right in your ofﬁce chair and will take you less than ten minutes to do.
1. Seated Glute Stretch
Sitting all day long can make the lower body feel heavy and numb but this seated glute stretch will help to relieve the tension that builds up in the hips and legs. Sit on the edge of your chair with both feet ﬂat on the ground. Flex one foot and lift it up onto the opposite thigh near the knee. Inhale and sit up straight to lengthen the spine. As you exhale fold from the hips to lower the upper body over the legs. Hold for a few breaths then repeat on both sides.
2. Tricep Stretch
Try this tricep stretch to release the tight muscles in the backs of the arms from too many hours typing at a computer. As you sit up straight in your chair, bend one elbow and reach the hand down the back. Use the other hand to press the elbow further down the back to stretch into the tricep. If you have the reach you may even be able to take the other hand around the back to interlace the ﬁngers behind you. Keep drawing the shoulders back to open out through the chest. After a few breaths repeat on the other side.
3. Seated Twist
Take regular breaks to twist out the spine to keep your back mobile and healthy. With the feet ﬂat on the ﬂoor, breathe in and sit tall. As you exhale take the left hand behind you and the right hand to the outside of the left thigh. Gaze towards the left or behind you if your back allows. Hold for a couple of breaths then repeat on the right side.
4. Neck Stretch
Many of us hold our work stress in our neck and shoulders which may lead to headaches at the end of the day. Stretching out these areas can help our bodies to let go of this tension. Sit up straight and draw your shoulders back and down. Lean your head to the left and gently place the left hand on top of the head to draw the neck a little further down into the stretch. Hold for a few deep breaths and repeat on the right side
5. Wrist Stretch
If you’ve spent your whole day typing on a computer it’s likely that the lowers arms, wrists and hands may be feeling cramped and sore. Try this simple wrist stretch to bring energy back into this part of your body. Sit up straight in your chair and press the back of hands together for a couple of breaths. Finish by rolling the wrists a couple of times in each direction to get the blood ﬂowing. 6. Chest opening stretch If you ﬁnd yourself feeling very lethargic by the end of a long day sitting it is probably due to poor posture as this compresses the chest and constricts breathing. Try a chest opening stretch to open up the front of the body and allow you to take full deep breaths. This will help pump fresh oxygenated blood around your body and is more effective than a cup of coffee. Take the hands behind the body and clasp the ﬁngers together. Inhale and lift the chest whilst drawing down with the hands behind you. If it feels good on your neck you could also look up towards the sky as you take a few deep full breaths.
7. Seated Side Stretch
A side stretch that you can do right in your ofﬁce chair is a great way to release through the whole side of the body. Sit comfortably and evenly on your chair. As you inhale reach one arm up and over the head. Hold the wrist of the outstretched arm with the opposite hand and draw it further over to the side. Breathe into that side of the body drawing down on the hip to increase the stretch.
8. Seated cat/ cow stretch
A seated cat/ cow stretch gives you a chance to stretch and move the upper back which often becomes very tight when the shoulders are hunched over at work. It also gives you the opportunity to focus on full deep breaths which can help to improve energy levels. Sit forward on your chair so that your feet touch the ﬂoor. Lean forward and rest the palms on the thighs, just above the knees. Inhale and open the chest looking up towards the sky. Exhale through the mouth and round the upper back whilst looking towards the belly button. Repeat this for three breaths.
9. Eagle Arms Stretch
This stretch helps to relieve upper back and neck tension which helps us to feel more relaxed as a whole. Inhale and open the arms wide. As you exhale bring the left arm underneath the right and wrap the palms and forearms together. Inhale to lift the arms up and as you exhale drop the shoulders down. You may even like to tuck the chin, release the hands down and draw the elbows towards the belly to increase the stretch through the upper back.
Without even moving from your ofﬁce chair these 9 stretches will have you feeling better before lunch time. Try to include them regularly into your work days to relieve tired aching muscles and revive stagnant energy.