Stay Limber: Stretches Recommended for Office Workers
We tend to focus most of our attention on how to maintain your business’ technology over time. This only makes sense—we are a managed service provider, after all—but that being said, your IT is not the only element that needs to be properly taken care of. It is just as important that you and your team members are physically able to focus on work…something a desk job doesn’t always help.
Today, let’s shift our attention to you and your team members and focus on how getting in the habit of stretching at the desk can benefit everyone.
Simply Put, We Aren’t Built to Stay in Place for So Long
When looked at in the context of human history, office work as we know it today is a very recent development. Most of our time as a species has been spent moving around and staying active in some form or another. Compare this history to how many of us spend at least eight hours each day, and suddenly all the health risks that are associated with a sedentary lifestyle make a lot of sense.
While it may not be realistic that everyone would be able to get up and move about the office freely as they please throughout the day, it is important that you and your team members are moving somewhat regularly. One way this can be accomplished is through some basic stretches that can easily be practiced at a desk.
Basic Stretches that Can Be Done in the Office
Let’s go through some of the basic stretches that can easily be done throughout the workday.
It can be too easy to slip into the habit of slouching forward at your desk, putting strain on your upper back. Provided that you don’t have any shoulder issues to preclude you from doing so, a simple stretch can help to open up your chest.
- Sit straight up in your chair, and move your arms behind you. If possible, interlock your fingers.
- Straighten out your arms and lift your hands until you feel the muscles in your chest resist.
- Once you feel this pull, hold it anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds. Repeat five to ten times.
Upper Back Stretch
This stretch is good for keeping the upper back loose and the blood flowing.
- While standing or seated, extend your arms straight forward and rotate your arms so your palms face opposite directions. Cross your arms so your palms press together, or interlace your fingers.
- Push your arms forward, curling your stomach and stretching out your back.
- Hold this position anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds.
Extended time while seated can create tension and soreness in the lower back. This stretch helps to relieve this stress, and it doesn’t take much to feel its benefits.
- While seated, keep your feet flat on the floor and contract your stomach muscles to turn your torso, bracing your arms on the armrest or back of your seat to help deepen the stretch.
- Twist as far as you comfortably are able, keeping your hips squarely forward and your back straight.
- Repeat this five to ten times on each side, holding up to 30 seconds each time.
Poor posture can have a detrimental impact on your employees, especially over time. This stretch can help relieve some of these effects.
- Interlace your fingers and extend your hands toward the ceiling, reaching as high up as you can. Take a deep breath in as you do so, and feel free to lean left and right to also stretch your sides.
- Slowly exhale as you release your hands and allow your arms to return to your sides in a controlled, sweeping motion.
- Repeat this process eight to ten times.
It’s common for people to crane their heads forward and slouch as they work at the computer, leading to headaches and tightness in their upper backs. Stretching out the neck (and remaining cognizant of your posture as you work) can help reduce these feelings.
- Using your right hand, take hold of the side of your chair and pull, all the while tilting your head to the left. You should feel the stretch in the right side of your neck and shoulder.
- To stretch the other side, do the reverse: holding the left side of your chair and tilting your head to the right.
- Hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, repeating five to ten times on each side.
Seated Hip Stretch
After sitting for hours at a time, things can tighten up. This stretch can help reopen the hips a bit, although it can be skipped if it doesn’t agree with your knees.
- While seated upright, cross the right ankle over your left knee. Lean forward while keeping your back straight until you feel the stretch in your right hip and glute.
- For added depth to the stretch, push down on your right knee.
- Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, alternating sides until you’ve repeated it five to ten times on each.
Wrist and Shoulder Release
All the small movements that office work requires of your hands and arms can wreak havoc on your joints. These stretches can help relax the muscles surrounding them to get rid of the tightness that sets in over the course of the day.
- Extend your hand, palm up.
- With the other hand, pull down on your fingers until you feel the stretch.
- Repeat as much as needed, alternating sides.
- Stretch your arms straight forward and interlace your fingers.
- Turn your palms outward and stretch your arms upward.
- Repeat as needed.
Low Back Release
Sitting at a desk all day can really play with one’s back. This stretch can help keep yours loose.
- Position yourself so you are facing sideways in your chair, holding onto the back with the most convenient arm.
- Carefully twist your body toward the back of the chair, reaching your free arm toward the opposite knee.
- Repeat this stretch as needed, alternating sides.
Hopefully, These Stretches Help Make Your Team Feel Better as They’re Working…
…meaning that they’ll likely work more productively, without aches and pains to distract them. We can help equip them with the IT that will take this productivity even further. Give us a call at (631) 285-1527 to learn more about the services we have to offer.