Creating Healthy Habits: 6 Stretches to Do While Sitting at Your Desk

Sitting at your desk for prolonged periods is not healthy. You are putting yourself at increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, a variety of cancers,…and a larger waist. So we’re advised to take frequent breaks, to stand up and stretch, or walk around for a few minutes.

Of course, there’s always the option of getting a treadmill desk or a standing desk. But if working while jogging sounds a bit much or you don’t want to chuck your chair altogether, here are a few exercises that you can do while seated at your desk. Although these are not terribly strenuous activities, it’s usually a good idea to check with your doctor before starting any exercise routine.

Why Stretch?

While it may take time away from your normal routine, stretching can help improve your productivity in the long run. It’s good to take small breaks throughout the day to help refresh your body and mind.

Stretching can also help perk you up if you’re feeling drowsy. Stretching, much like normal exercise, helps improve blood flow to the joints and muscles, so your post-lunch drowsiness may seem a little less intense after a good stretch.

Stretching can also help your body feel better since you are loosening cold muscles. Just remember to be careful since they will be more susceptible to injury. If you feel pain, stop and contact a medical professional.

1. One-Arm Hug

Take one arm and outstretch it across your body. To get a deeper stretch, use your other arm to push back on the elbow. You should feel this stretch on the outside of your arm and shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds, repeat 2-3 times each arm.

one-arm hug

2. Office Chair Back Stretch

While sitting, reach both hands behind your back and around your office chair. Once you have a good hold, arch your back and move your chest forward. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 5 times.

3. Skyward Stretch

Interlock both hands above your head, palms facing the ceiling. Sit straight up, then push your palms upward and elongate your spine. You should feel a stretch in your back. Make sure to keep your shoulders loose and relaxed. Hold for 10 seconds, repeat 5 times.

4. Calf Raises

Give yourself a break from sitting and try going some calf raises. Keep your legs straight and raise yourself by rolling up onto the ball of your foot while tightening your calf. Repeat 20 times.

5. Seated Spine Twist

Cross one leg over the other, and then twist your body toward the top leg. You can use the arm of the chair to push yourself into a deeper twist if you’d like. Hold for 30 seconds, repeat 3 times on each side.

6. Wrist Stretch

After hours of typing and writing, your wrists will need some love, too! Press your palms together in front of your chest and hold for 15 seconds. Next, push the backs of your hands together for a reverse stretch and hold for another 15 seconds. Repeat 5 times.

Any combination of these exercises will make your day at the desk more productive and less stressful. And remember to get up frequently, and maybe grab a cup of water, for a healthier you.

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