Desk Friendly Stretches for Your Entire Back
So many people spend long days at work sitting – 86% of Americans to be exact – that there’s a non-profit organization centered around getting desk workers to stand up! According to JustStand.org, claims that people spend an average of 12 hours sitting each day!
Sitting is often a major contributor to back pain. When we’re focused on the task at hand and often working on a computer, we tend to hunch over and put pressure on our lower back. While it’s important to get up and walk around about once an hour to get your heart rate going, it can also be helpful to get a little stretching in! You can take care of your daily stretch session right at your desk with these moves:
Neck Rolls are one of the easiest stretches you can do! The trick is to move slowly to make sure you aren’t putting too much fast pressure on your cervical spine. Slowly lower your ear to your shoulder. Hold here for a deeper stretch or continue to lower your chin down and across to your other shoulder. Reverse and repeat!
The Neck Grabber is a great way to open up the back of your neck, trapezius muscles, and between your shoulder blades. Lace your fingers and place your hands so that the bottom of your index finger rests where your skull meets your spine with your thumbs loosely on your neck. As you lower your chin to your chest, bring your elbows towards one another in front of your face and hold. As a counter stretch, you can then raise your chin up, open up your arms and shoulders, and push your chest out. Move back and forth between positions as desired.
Shoulders & Upper Back
Over the Head stretch will loosen up those hunched over shoulders and relieve pressure from the lower back. Simply interlace your fingers with your palms facing upwards and outstretch your arms! If you pretend your arms and head are attached to a puppet’s string, you can stretch even further.
Eagle Arms are a great way to stretch out between your shoulder blades. With your arms straight, cross your arms over one another. Then, bend at the elbows to bring your arms to 90 degrees. The back of your hands should be facing one another. For a deeper stretch, you can twist your arms at the wrist to bring your hands into a prayer position. Once you’re here, you can move your elbows up and down to really work your upper back and shoulders!
Low Back Stretches
Sitting Pigeon and Knee Ups are a great way to let some pressure off of your lower back and loosen up your Iliotibial band that can impact symptoms of sciatica. For knee ups, all you have to do is sit with your back flush to your chair and your feet flat on the ground. Simply raise one knee up towards your chest while maintaining your posture. You can use your arms or hands to hook under your thigh or knee if needed.
To take this another step further into the pigeon, just rest your foot or ankle across on your other knee. Leaning forward with a straight back can intensify the stretch in your lower back if needed.
A Seated Twist can ultimately stretch your entire back if your flexibility allows. With your feet firmly planted on the ground, use the arms of your chair as leverage to pull your body around. Wait until your shoulders are turned as much as possible before extending the stretch through your neck and head. It’s important to maintain your posture during this stretch to get the full effect.
Bonus Stretch: Wrists and Hands
Carpal tunnel and tendonitis are common results of working with a mouse and keyboard for extended periods of time. These little exercises can loosen up the tendons that tighten up from repetitive work.
Wrist extensions can stretch out the four tendons in your wrist easily. Stretch your arm out in front of you with your palms facing upward. You can use the edge of your desk or your other hand to pull your fingers downward towards a 90-degree angle.
Prayer Hands is another way to achieve the same stretch by using your hands as leverage against one another. To extend the effects of this stretch, you can fan out your fingers and pull them back together to work the carpal bones.
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