If you happen to have a sedentary desk job, you are no stranger sitting for extended periods of time, staring at a computer screen, taking phone calls, and rushing to meetings. It can all get a little overwhelming, not to mention stressful, and take a serious toll on your body. Taking 5–10 minutes out of your day however, can be a lot easier than you may think.
These quick and easy stretches are going to leave you walking out of the office feeling refreshed, loose and more motivated to keep moving throughout your work day.
“Tech Neck” is real and a product of too much screen time. When we lean towards the screen of our computer, tablet, and phone we weaken our deep neck flexor muscles, these muscles help with keeping our head and neck in alignment with our spine. Pushing gently on your neck reminding yourself to bring your neck back helps to eliminate the stress on your neck that can lead to tight neck muscles and eventual headaches.
- Mid-day (Lunch hour is perfect!)
- 3 sets, 15 reps, hold for 15 seconds each
- This exercise helps to strengthen the muscles in the front of your neck that get weak when looking at a computer or down at a phone during the day
Stretch your Pecs with the letters “T and Y “
Stretching of the pectoralis muscles aides in relaxing the muscles of the shoulders when you are feverishly trying to make that deadline. It also can act as a postural ‘reset’ and a reminder to open up to rib cage for mindful breathing.
Make the letter “T” and follow it with the letter “Y” (see below).
- Beginning, middle and end of day
- 3 sets, hold each for 15–20 seconds
- This exercise helps to stretch out your pectoralis muscles, neck extensors and wrist extensors.
Neck stretches (Upper Traps, Levator scapulae)
If you suffer from headaches or a ‘stiff’ neck, these go-to stretches will help ease the tension you may be experiencing during your work day.
Picture 1: Turn your head, then look into your arm pit and place your same side hand onto your head and gently pull.
Picture 2: Brace yourself with one hand by holding onto the side of a chair. With your opposite hand pull your head gently towards that same arm. You should feel a stretch within your neck. Keep it balanced, and do both sides.
- Do each stretch 2 times, hold for 10–20 seconds each
- These exercises help to stretch all your neck muscles that get tight while sitting at your desk
Wrist Flexor and Extensor
Typing, texting, and holding that coffee mug can cause tightness in the forearms and wrists. How to combat this? Extend your arm in front and gentle grasp your finger tips and pull upwards.
- Before the start of work and at the end of the day
- 3 sets, hold each stretch for 15–20 seconds
- These exercises help stretch out the muscles in your forearm and wrist and can assist in the prevention of elbow, wrist and forearm pain.
Arm Clasps & Modified Downward Dog
Stretch out your mid-back and shoulders with the modified downward dog- one of our favorites!
Start by standing with your legs shoulder width apart, and reach your arms behind and clasp your hands together. Gently push your shoulders down to feel a stretch — but be mindful of not over extending your elbows.
After stretching your back, the counter stretch is the modified downward dog. Hold onto a higher table or office chair, keep your legs shoulder width apart and your back straight. Push your hips away from your arms/ chair and let your head rest and naturally, looking at the floor. You should feel this stretch in your shoulders, mid-back and hamstrings.
- Beginning, middle and end of day
- 3 sets of each holding for 10–20 seconds
Movement is medicine: These are a few simple exercises that you can use to break up your workday! If you have any questions feel free to ask one of our manual therapists by scheduling an appointment.