If you are an office worker, you know that sitting at a desk all day has a negative impact on your both your mental and physical health. However, knowledge is power, and with this in mind, there are steps you can take to reduce the impact of office work on your body and mind. One way you can reduce the impact sitting all day has on your body is by taking periodic stretch breaks throughout the day.
Benefits of Stretching
Stretching offers a variety of benefits for office workers:
- Greater flexibility. As you have probably learned from your yogi friend, stretching improves your flexibility. Sitting all day, particularly with bad posture, has a negative impact on the curvature of the spine. If you experience a lot of lower back pain, stretching throughout the day can relieve tension and improve flexibility.
- Improved mood. Stretching is refreshing, and incorporating stretch breaks into your routine can offer you a brief escape from work stressors.
- Better productivity. You might be under the impression that taking a stretch break is going to cut into your productivity, but actually, taking breaks during the day allows you to return to your work with a fresh perspective. Instead of wasting time surfing the web for a minute here or there, taking a stretch break allows you to return to your work with a clear mind and more motivation.
- Reduced risk of injury. Office workers are particularly susceptible to certain injuries and health conditions, including sprains of the lower back and shoulders, tendonitis, and tennis elbow.
With these benefits in mind, here are some stretches you can use during your stretch break at the office:
Place your right elbow over your head and pull it down with your left hand, feeling the stretch in your elbow and bicep. Repeat on the other side, placing your left elbow over your head and pulling it down with your right hand.
Sit on the floor with your legs out straight. Lean over and touch your toes (or just get as close as you can). Hold this for 20 seconds, feeling it in your hamstrings.
Lay on your back on the ground. Hug one knee to your chest and hold for ten seconds. Repeat with the other knee, then hug both into your chest and rock back and forth for added benefit to your back.
Lean your head to the left shoulder, feeling the stretch on the right side of your neck. Repeat on your right side, feeling the stretch on the left side. This stretch will help your neck become more flexible.
Extend your right arm over your head and stretch it over your head towards the left, forming a crescent moon with your arm. Repeat on the other side.
Tense up your shoulders to your ears and hold for several seconds, then drop them. Repeat this four or five times.
Grasp your hands behind your back and puff up your chest, lifting your chin and holding for ten seconds. If you feel a lot of tension in your chest, hold it for a little bit longer.
While sitting in your chair, put one leg over the other and twist towards the back of the room. Repeat with the opposite leg over the other.
Lace your fingers together and push them above your head, feeling the stretch in your hands. This stretch is particularly good for office workers who type all day.
Clasp your hands over your head and lean to one side, feeling the stretch along the opposite side. Repeat on the other side.
Clearly, office workers in particular have a lot to benefit from when it comes to incorporating stretch breaks into their day. Another great way to improve the way your muscles feel during your office job is to get a massage. At Hopkins Health and Wellness Center, we have certified massage therapists who offer the DMR method for maximum benefit to you. If you are interested in learning more, schedule an appointment with us by calling today!