Sitting at a desk all day can cause tension to build up in our muscles. Relieving stress and staying stretched out throughout the day is essential to good health. Incorporate these stretches into your frequent breaks to keep you limber. Don’t forget to breathe and relax to release stress!
Neck, Shoulders and Back
Lift your hands above your head and reach for the ceiling, releasing the tension in your back and neck. If the back of your chair is tall enough, allow your back and head to rest against the chair back while stretching upward. Hold for a few seconds.
Let your hands and arms relax beside you, but leave your back and head (if possible) resting against the back of the chair. Take a few deep breaths to release stress. Repeat as many times as needed.
Place your fingertips on your shoulders with your elbows pointed out to the sides. Pull your elbows back as far as you can, then bring your elbows forward and try to touch them together. Repeat 10 times. Now, keeping your fingertips on your shoulders, lift your elbows up and then bring them down to your sides, as if you’re trying to fly. Repeat 10 times.
Legs and Hips
The Cross Over
Sit forward close to the edge of your chair. Cross your right leg over your left knee, resting your right ankle just above the left knee. Lean forward, bringing your chest toward the bent leg. Make sure to keep your back straight and avoid arching or slumping. Breathe and hold for few seconds. Repeat two or three times, then switch legs and repeat with the left leg crossed.
Extend your legs in front of you with heels resting on the floor. Sit straight up toward the edge of your chair. Lean forward with your back straight to feel the stretch in the back of your legs. Avoid slumping or arching your back. Allow your hands to gently slide down toward your knees. For a deeper stretch, elevate your feet on another chair.
Sit sideways on your left buttock toward the edge of the chair. Keep your left knee bent with the left foot resting on the floor, and stretch your right leg out to the side. Hold on to the chair arm or seat on the left side, lean forward slightly and slide your right foot out across the floor until you feel a slight stretch in your right hip and leg. Repeat on the opposite side.
Stand next to your chair with your left hand holding the chair for balance. Grab your right foot with your right hand (or grab your pant leg if you cannot reach your foot). Pull your foot toward your buttocks and hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Your knee should be pointing downward, not out to the side. Repeat two to three times with each leg. Work on your balance by removing your hand from the chair, little by little, as you hold the stretch.