It started with a small pinch in your back.
You got up from your desk to get a drink from the dispenser, bent over to pick up a cup from the little fridge, and suddenly felt like someone shot a rubber-band pellet (if you didn’t play those games in secondary school, you shouldn’t be reading this) right below your shoulder blades.
Yes, you’ve definitely been sitting in your seat too long.
And I understand. The demands in the office can be really intense. You spend all your time hunched over your laptop, sending emails and checking out your ex’s last post on Facebook and sometimes it’s all you can do to get up from your seat to get a meal (I see you eating at your desk over there). But the truth is, sitting in your desk for hours on end, day after day can have a number of negative effects on your body, including back and spine injuries, depression, chronic pains, decreased metabolic recovery rates, compromised posture (leading to more aches and pains), diabetes, obesity, cardiac disease, and many more scary problems.
There are a number of ways you can reduce the negative effects of sitting all day. You can stand while making phone calls, walk laps with your colleagues when discussing important stuff instead of using meeting rooms (I really love this idea), or even move about and stretch in your seat. Personally, I like to do a three minute, full body stretch session every hour I’m at a desk, and I’d like to share some of those exercises with you.
Neck & Shoulders
Start with a simple shrug of your shoulders. Pull your shoulders up towards your ears, hold for 2-3 seconds, relax. Repeat 3 times.
Then, sitting straight in your chair, relax your head to the right (trying to touch your head to your shoulder without raising it) and hold for 3 seconds, bring it back up and relax to the left. Then to the front, and to the back. Feel free to repeat the sequence until all the tension in your neck is gone.
Starting with your fingers, make a fist with both hands (keeping your thumb out straight), and then release your fingers into an open palm.
Repeat 3 times, and then move on to your wrists; place one hand on the fingers of the other, and slowly bend the wrist downwards. Hold for 3 seconds, and then turn the wrist upwards. Hold for 3-5 seconds, and then switch hands.
Going up into your arms, place your elbows on your desk and out your hands together like it was time for your morning prayers, lower your wrists toward the the desk till you feel a stretch in your arms. Hold for 7 seconds, and repeat thrice.
Sit tall in your chair and put your feet firmly on the ground. Reach your arms above you and interlock your fingers. Take your arms as far back as you can, and hold for 2 seconds, then slowly lean to your right. Hold that position for 3-5 seconds, return upright, then lean to your left, and hold for 3-5 seconds as well.
Moving to the chest, sit at the edge of your seat, pull your arms back and interlock your hands behind you, with your palms facing backwards. Lean forward slightly, raise your arms and reach for the back of your chair. Pull your shoulders down away from your ears, hold for 7 seconds, and then relax.
Feet & Legs
Lift your left leg in front of you. Flex & point your foot, so your toes stretch up to the ceiling, then straight out. Repeat 3 times, then rotate your foot in circles 3 times, clockwise, and then anti-clockwise. Drop foot, and repeat on the left.
You should be done with this in about three to five minutes. Feel better? Great! Set a reminder so you can do it every hour. But remember, try to get out of that chair as much as possible. Stretches in your seat are good, but a little bit of movement will go a long way in keeping you healthy.
Want help finding an awesome nutrition and workout plan that you can follow and maintain? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org