If you spend most of your work day sitting at a desk, you may feel tired and uncomfortable from time to time. Take time out during the day or at home and do some simple stretches to help enhance your posture and feel better.
Stretch Your Hamstring Muscles
If you have an office with a door that closes, you can easily do this stretch at work. If that isn’t the case, you can start your day off with it at home. It's likely to help alleviate back stiffness you might be feeling during the day.
Lie flat and even on your back, then lift one leg toward the ceiling with your knee very slightly bent. Place your hands behind your thigh, and pull your leg toward you for a great stretch through your hamstrings and lower back. Take a yoga mat to work so you can try this stretch at the office.
Sit on an Exercise Ball
You can help protect your back by strengthening your core muscles. Substitute an exercise ball for your desk chair for at least part of each day. While your brain focuses on your work, your body is kept busy adjusting muscles in your core, back and legs to keep you balanced on the exercise ball.
Stretch Your Neck
While you may feel the tension mostly in your lower back, your spine stretches all the way up to your head. Don't forget your neck while you're stretching. Here are a couple of neck stretches you can perform while sitting in your ergonomic chair at work.
Tuck your chin all the way down to your chest to feel a good stretch in the back of your neck. Then, tip your head to one side as if trying to place your ear on your shoulder. Reach up with the hand from the same side to pull your neck even lower and increase the stretch. Do this stretch on both sides.
Lower Back Stretches
Pull out your yoga mat again for these stretches that may help release lower back tension. Lie on your back, and bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Tuck your hands over one knee, and pull your knee straight to your chest. Alternate sides. Next, keep your left knee bent on one side with your thigh pointing straight up. Cross your right leg over the top of the bent leg so your right calf is pushing against your left knee. Reach behind your left thigh, and pull both legs toward your body. This releases the muscle that runs from your lower back down into your legs.
You can stay seated in your chair to perform this exercise, which helps loosen up your middle back region. Twist around enough so you can grab the back of your chair with your right hand. Hold the right arm of your chair with your left hand. Now, twist even more, keeping your feet on the ground to stabilize the chair. See if you can twist far enough to see what's behind your desk. Do this exercise on both sides.
Upper Body Release
Some stretches make you more conscious of back pain as you work through them, while others just let your muscles and joints release and relax. To do this stretch, sit up straight or stand behind your desk chair. Reach both hands straight up, and interlace your fingers. Tilt your head back as far as you can while you reach for the ceiling. Breathe a few times, then release everything. Shake out your arms to finish.
Total Back Stretch
This total move stretches out everything at once. Stand an arm's length away from your desk, lean all the way over and grab the edge of your desk. Bend your knees slightly, tuck your head down between your arms and feel the stretch through your entire back. Breathe deeply and count slowly to 30 while you do this one.
Using an ergonomic desk chair can make all the difference in how your back feels at work. Take advantage of the adjustments to fit it to your own body correctly. Find a few minutes each day to pay attention to your back. It's an investment in yourself.
The contents of this article are for informational purposes only and are based on scientific and technical research noted below. The information does not constitute a medical consultation and cannot replace medical advice. Any information should never be used as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other health care provider. Before you begin any exercise regimen, you should get a medical checkup or otherwise be fit for this type of activity. It is important that you use common sense while exercising: do not go over the top when exercising! If you experience any pain, feel weak, dizzy or exhausted or become short of breath, immediately stop exercising.
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