When you’re deep into a project with an impending due date, probably the last thing you’re thinking about is taking a break to stretch at your desk.
However, we all know that long periods of inactivity, particularly when sitting, can be harmful to your health. A 2010 report published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine affirmed that long periods of sitting, along with lack of regular movement, are associated with severe health issues like obesity, diabetes, risk of cardiovascular disease, and cancer, among other chronic health problems.
Being sedentary for lengthy periods constricts blood flow and tightens the major muscle groups. Know that it’s critical to move frequently. If you can’t get out for a walk, a variety of easy stretches can do the trick, particularly for your hips, chest, neck, shoulders, and low back. Here are five that can help.
Desk or Wall Down Dog
Place your hands on your desk or a wall in front of you. Move your feet back until your hands are at about hip level and your back is flat. Your body should make approximately a 90-degree angle. Desk down dog stretches the low back, the torso, and the back of the legs. It also strengthens the upper back muscles that get overly stretched while hunched forward in a chair.
Quad and Hip Flexor Stretch
Sitting in a chair keeps the hip flexors and quads unnaturally flexed and tight. To counter that, stand up and grab your left foot behind you with your left hand and bring your heel towards your glutes. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute. To deepen the stretch, you may lean forward and press your foot back into your hand. Switch sides.
Chair Hip Stretch
This stretch targets the hard-to-reach outer hips and low back that become so tight from sitting. In your chair, cross your right ankle over your left thigh, making a figure-4 shape. Flex the right foot and lean forward until you feel a deep stretch on your outer right hip and thigh. Hold for one minute, then switch sides. You can also do this same stretch standing up using the desk or wall for balance support.
Shoulder and Neck Stretch
Sitting or standing, bring your fingertips to your shoulders. Then draw full circles in the air with your elbows to stretch the shoulders and chest. Reverse the direction of the circles. Then bring your arms down and drop your right ear to your right shoulder. Hold for a minute and then switch sides.
Calf Stretch and Twist with your FluidStance Deck
Standing on a FluidStance deck, stretch your calves by placing your heels down and lifting the toes higher. Hold for 30-seconds to one minute and then bring the deck back to level. Then twist on the deck by bringing your right foot forward and left foot back on the deck, slightly rotating your torso to the right. Hold for one minute and then repeat on the other side.