Many of us spend a sizable part of our workdays at our desks (as much as 7.5 hours each day, according to a 2013 survey). Researching, reporting, blogging, brainstorming, meeting – you name it, we’re doing it all at our workstations.
Stretching is important and easy, and can help counteract some of the effects of sitting for long periods. Stretch it out! Along with getting up and moving around, at regular intervals during the day, do simple stretching exercises. Stretch your arms, legs, neck and torso while sitting. This will help prevent you from feeling stiff.
• Neck: To stretch your neck, slowly flex your head forward and backward, side to side and look right and left. This can be done almost any time to lessen tension and strain. Never roll your head around your neck––this could cause damage to the joints of the neck.
• Shoulders: Roll your shoulders forward around 10 times, then backward. This helps release the tension off your shoulders.
• Arms and shoulders: A good stretch for your arms and shoulders is to brace your hands on the edge your desk, each about a shoulder width away from your body. Twist your hands in so they point toward your body and lean forward, hunching your shoulders. Take this a step further and push your shoulders and elbows closer to the desk.
• Wrists: Roll your wrists regularly, around every hour or so. Roll the wrists 10 times clockwise, then 10 times counterclockwise. This will help minimize the potential for getting carpal tunnel syndrome if you spend a lot of time typing.
• Ankles: Roll your ankles regularly. As with your wrists, roll the ankles in a clockwise motion three times, then counterclockwise. This helps improve blood circulation, and prevents that tingling feeling you can get when blood circulation is cut off, also known as “pins and needles”.
• Chest: Notice if you tend to hunch in front of the keyboard. To counter that, perform the following exercise: Open your arms wide as if you were going to hug someone, rotate your wrists externally (thumbs going up and back) and pull your shoulders back. This stretch is moving your body the opposite way to being hunched and you should feel a good stretch across your upper chest.
• Abdomen: Contract your abdominal and gluteal muscles, hold them there for a few seconds, then release. Repeat this every few minutes all day long while you’re working at your desk. You can also perform kegels (pelvic floor exercises) while sitting.
• Calves: Stretch your calves. While sitting, lift up your legs on the balls of your feet and set them down. Repeat until your legs are comfortably tired. Repeat about 10 minutes later, and continue doing this routine for about an hour or so. This will exercise your calves, and will help prevent blood clots from developing in your legs. Blood clots are very common among middle-aged computer users.
Do you have other stretching exercises that you can recommend for the workplace? Don’t keep them to yourself! Please share them in the comments!
This PBCi Buzz post is part of our Mind, Body, & BUSINESS™ Series. As Entrepreneurs, what’s happening in our Minds and Bodies – whether mentally, spiritually, emotionally, or physically – directly impacts, and is connected to, the decisions we make in our businesses and how we manage them.
Our Mind, Body, & BUSINESS™ series explores that connection by providing much-needed tools, resources and support for our fellow Entrepreneurs.