The average office worker sits their desk on average 13 to 15 hours a day. Prolonged sitting can cause muscular tension, pain, and other multiple diseases. By taking a five to ten minute break to do a series of stretches, your whole body can feel better and healthier. It is also helpful to learn to stretch spontaneously throughout the day, stretching any particular area of the body that feels tense for a minute or two. The key to stretching is to be relaxed while you concentrate on the area being stretched.
For shoulder and neck tension you can raise the top of your shoulders towards your ears until you feel slight tension in your neck and shoulders. Hold this feeling of tension for 3 to 5 seconds then relax your shoulders down. Do this 2 to 3 times. This is good to use at the first signs of tightness in the shoulders and neck.
For upper back tension, interlace your fingers behind your head, keep your elbows strait out to the side with the upper body in good alignment. Now pull your shoulder blades toward each other to create a feeling of tension through the upper back and shoulder blades. Hold this feeling for 8 to 10 seconds, and then relax. Do this several times through out the day.
For neck tension, start sitting up aligning the spine, and then slowly tilt your head to each shoulder until you feel tension in the side of your neck, for 10 to 20 seconds. Next, turn your chin towards each shoulder, again until you feel tension, for 10 to 20 seconds. After that, gently tilt your head forwards to stretch the back of your neck for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat these stretches 2 to 3 times, being careful not to stretch to the point of pain.
For tension in the arms, interlace your fingers then turn palms upward above your head as you straiten your arms. You will feel a stretch through your arms and upper sides of your ribcage, hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Next, hold your left or right elbow and gently pull it behind your head until an easy tension is felt in the shoulder and back of the arm. Hold this for 30 seconds, then do the other side. Repeat these stretches 2 to 3 times.
For leg and hip tension, begin in a sitting position then hold onto your lower leg just below the knee. Gently pull the bet leg towards your chest. To isolate the a stretch in the side of your upper leg, use the opposite arm to pull the bent leg across and toward the opposite shoulder. Hold this for 30 seconds. A stretch for the side of hip, lower and middle back. Sit with your left leg bent over the right leg, rest your right elbow or forearm on the outside of the upper thigh of the left leg. Apply some controlled, steady pressure towards the right . As you do this, look over your left shoulder to get the stretch feeling, and then stretch the other side. Hold this for 15 seconds.
These are just a few basic stretches that can be done during long hours of work. Taking just a few minutes at your desk will help relieve tension, pain, and promote a healthier body and mind.