If you work on a computer, this blog is for you. If you sit for long periods of time a day, this blog is for you. If you are breastfeeding or holding a baby for long periods of time, this blog is for you. If you are a human, this blog is for you. 😊
Some say, sitting is the new smoking. Our bodies weren’t designed to sit, with very little movement all day. Our bodies need movement. Here are 6 stretches to do throughout the work day to help keep your joints and muscles moving while stuck at a desk.
- Figure 4 Stretch
This movement is great for stretching your hips, low back, and glutes. You have a muscle called the piriformis that gets tight when sitting for long periods of time. It is an easy stretch to do at your desk. Just cross your right ankle over your left knee and put slight downward pressure on your right knee. To get a deeper stretch, lean your body slightly forward. You will feel a stretch in your low back and glutes. Help combat low back pain and hip pain while sitting with this stretch.
2. Bruegger’s Stretch
This stretch implements the opposite positions that your body is in all day when working on a computer (or holding your child if you have kiddos). It also opens up your chest cavity. When sitting for long periods of time, our posture starts to suffer. I often see people come in the office with their upper backs rounded forward, shoulders shrugged, and the head jetted forward. This exercise encourages the wrists, arms, shoulders, and chest to open up, while doing a chin retraction. Not sure how to do a chin retraction? Make yourself have a double chin! Pull your chin backwards and you will feel a little squeeze at the base of your neck. This helps strengthen those posterior neck muscles!
3. T-spine Extension Stretch
This is a great movement to open up your chest and stretch your neck and upper back. This stretch opposes the “hunched over” posture. To perform this, I will kneel by my desk, raise my arms, and put my hands behind my head. You can do this stretch using a chair or a couch, as well. Then, I place my elbows on my desk and tilt my head backwards, and extending my upper back. You should feel the stretch in your upper back. Holding this position for 20-30 seconds, 3 times will put motion in those joints that are getting locked up from your extended sitting posture. This can help combat neck pain, upper back pain, low back, and hip pain. This is a great move to perform to get a solid, full spine stretch.
4. SCM Stretch
There is a muscle called the sternocleidomastoid, or SCM. It starts at the back side of your skull, goes down the side of your neck, and attaches on your clavicle. It can get really tight when working at a desk and not having proper posture. Stretching this muscle, along with other neck muscles, will help keep your muscles loose and joints moving. To do this stretch, tilt your head to the side and slightly pull your ear to your shoulder. Do this to both sides. You can also flex your head forward, putting your chin to your chest, and adding a little traction downward. The last phase of this stretch is to tuck your chin at a 45 degrees angle and lightly pull your head forward in that angle.
5. Windmill Stretch
This is one of my favorite stretches! When doing this, you are stretching your back muscles, but also mobilizing those joints in your mid and low back that are not getting a lot of movement because of sitting for a long period of time. If you turn your head and look up at the ceiling while doing this stretch, you are also adding some additional movement for the neck. It is a great overall upper body and spine stretch, and it feels awesome!
6. Wrist Extension Stretch
This stretch is great to loosen up your hands, wrists, elbows, and forearms. Often times, desk workers are typing on their computers. I see lots of cases of carpal and cubital tunnel in my office because of this. By doing this stretch, you can alleviate tightness in your upper extremities. It’s a simple stretch. I recommend holding this position for 10-15 seconds at a time.
These stretches can benefit multiple people! So don’t hesitate to share it with your friends. I encourage anyone who works at a desk or is seated for longer than 20 minutes at a time to do these stretches- so basically everyone. These stretches are not only great for desk workers, but also moms of young children who sit for long periods of time feeding/holding their little ones.
Doing all of these stretches will only take about 2-3 minutes. I highly encourage you to attempt to do these stretches once an hour! It only takes a couple minutes. You can do these stretches while on a call or right before taking a bathroom break. I promise, you will see great results if you do these stretches regularly.
Don’t forget to get adjusted as well! If you have been in my office for chiropractic care, you KNOW that getting adjusted helps your posture and those aches and pains of sitting for long periods of time. Our bodies were not designed to sit like we as a society do. So get some movement in your body during your day!