The human body was not designed to constantly sit at a desk and the strict office hours can have many negative effects. Inactivity is the major culprit; even the most ergonomically designed office will leave the body wanting a quick stretch or a bit of movement. Work pressures sometimes get the best of us. Pay attention to your posture while you're sitting at the desk and try not to hunch your back. Your forearms can get tight during the day as you keep typing without even realizing that you might get injured. Many people complain about headaches and back pains when they come back home; but office exercises will help you return fresh to work and keep you concentrated. Sitting in front of a desk every day can wreak havoc on your body, especially since most of us don't have the best posture. Hunching the shoulders and slumping in your seat can cause back pain, headaches, tension and tightness in your back, neck and shoulders. The following stretches target the muscles of the back, neck and shoulders as well as the hips and gluts. Taking time to do some of these stretches throughout the day can help increase flexibility and reduce tension and stress.
Here are simple ways to keep your body (and your mind) functioning at the office Invigorate Your Legs- An ineffective chair and or sitting position can cut off circulation to a person’s legs and weakening them. This can be easily combated by standing up or a quick stroll at least once every 30 minutes—and can coincide with a visit to the convenience. Another easy addition is to do some knee-bends; the change in weight and position of the body will stimulate blood flow and often release tightness in the hips.
Relieve Your Back- It can be difficult to find the perfect office chair—supportive for the back, and comfortable for the seat, while not luxurious enough to detract from that very important to-do list and when 40 hours a week are spent in the wrong chair, the back is guaranteed to suffer.
The best thing to do to prevent back pain is to keep it from staying in one place long enough to create tension. At intervals of 15-30 minutes, take a 30 seconds break to allow your back to move. Pinch your shoulders back to allow the front of your ribcage to open and your upper back to lift, and then clasp your hands together, tuck your chin forward, and draw your hands away from your torso, allowing your upper back to feel a stretch between the shoulder blades. Then, allow your lower back to relax by scooting your chair away from your desk, and resting your head on your hands, flat on the desk. This will take the weight of the upper torso off of the lumbar spine and give it a few moments of relaxation before continuing with the day.
Relax Your Neck-One of the most common muscle strains to happen in the office is straining a muscle in the neck, often caused by a monitor or document at the wrong height or angle. To prevent a muscle strain, allow yourself short breaks to look from side to side, up and down, and to roll your head in a slow, deliberate circle. Each time you change direction, you should hold the new position for two seconds and breathe before continuing. Also, massage the muscles and tendons from the nape of your neck all the way down to the top of your shoulder blades to help release any pent-up tension.
The Whole Body-The best thing to keep in mind is how much the body likes to move and experience the world—stagnation will lead the body to tense or strain just as often as overexertion will. When there is an opportunity to change location or venue without losing productivity, take it. You will find your body feeling better if you give it small allowances of time to be free of your desk chair instead of waiting until you feel the painful effects before you take action.
Tips on Office Exercises to Avoid Sleepiness
• Take small walks while you're on a coffee break(s). You can also ask your colleague(s) to join you; so instead of sitting and drinking coffee, you are walking and enjoying your coffee.
• Try taking the stairs instead of the usual elevator. If your office is on the 10th or 15th floor, get off the elevator 3 - 5 floors below and climb the rest of the floors.
• After having lunch, take a small walk around the office. If there's a park or some stores nearby, try to take a walk there. When you come back from your mini walk, you will actually feel refreshed.
• While you're on the office phone, get up and walk back and forth your desk, instead of just sitting. Also, when you're on the cell phone, take a walk to other parts of the office, while talking. You can also consider the following postures. You don’t need a kit for it, though. You can while still dressed in your office wears try them.
1. Chest Stretch - Stretching the chest may be one of the best exercises you can do for your body, since most of us spend much of our time hunched forward. This example shows a chest stretch using a resistance band. You can find resistance bands at most sporting goods and department stores and they're great to keep in your desk for quick stretching or strengthening moves. There are alternatives below if you don't have a band. Do it right: In a seated or standing position, hold the band in a wide grip over the head. Take the arms back just a bit as you lower them down, stretching the chest. Hold for 10-30 seconds. Avoid this move if you have shoulder problems.
2. Shoulder Shrugs- The shoulders and neck hold a lot of stress and tension from typing, clicking and scrunching. Shoulder shrugs are a great way to relax the shoulders and get a little circulation going. Do it right: Seated or standing, lift the shoulders up towards the ears, squeezing them as hard as you can. Hold for 1-2 seconds and roll them back as you relax down. Repeat for 8-10 reps.
3. Upper Back Stretch - The upper back can also become tense and tight from hunched shoulders, especially if you hold the phone against your shoulder or use your mouse a lot. The shoulder rolls above may help loosen you up for this upper back stretch. Do it right: Seated or standing, stretch the arms straight out and rotate the hands so that the palms face away from each other. Cross the arms so that the palms are pressed together, contract the abs and round the back, reaching away as you relax the head. Don't collapse but instead imagine you're curving up and over an imaginary ball. Hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds. If twisting the arms doesn't feel good, simply lace the fingers together.
4. Spinal Twist- Sitting for prolonged periods of time can also affect the lower back, leaving it tight and achy. This stretch will help gently work out some of that tension. Do it right: In a seated position with the feet flat on the floor, contract the abs and gently twist the torso towards the right, using your hands to help deepen the stretch. Only twist as far as you comfortably can and keep the back straight while keeping the hips square. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
5. Torso Stretch- Even if you pay attention to your posture, you may find yourself sinking back into a hunched position, which can make your back ache. This simple move will stretch all the muscles in your back, sides and arms. Do it right: Seated or standing, lace the fingers together and stretch them up towards the ceiling. Take a deep breath as you stretch up as high as you can, then exhale and open the arms, sweeping them back down. Repeat for 8-10 times.
6. Forearm Stretch- You may not even realize how tight your forearms can get from typing until you stretch them out. This simple move helps stretch those muscles in the forearms and wrists. Do it right: Seated or standing, stretch the right arm out and turn the hand down so that the fingers point towards the floor. Use the left hand to gently pull the fingers towards you, feeling a stretch in the forearm. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other hand.
7. Neck Stretch- Holding tension in the neck can lead to headaches and upper back tension as well. Many of us drop the head forward when working on the computer, which can put extra stress on the neck muscles. This stretch feels great on the neck and shoulders. Do it right: Sitting in your chair, reach down and grab the side of the chair with the right hand and gently pull while tilting your head to the left, feeling a stretch down the right side of the neck and shoulder. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
8. Hip Flexor Stretch- The lower body also gets tight from sitting too much, especially the front of the hips. When you sit, the glutes stretch while the hip flexors get tighter.
Stretching this area several times a day can help reduce that tightness. Do it right: While standing, take the right leg back as though you're going to do a lunge. Squeeze the glutes as you bend the knees, lowering down until you feel a stretch in the front of the right hip. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
9. Seated Hip Stretch- This move helps open up the hips and stretch the complex series of muscles in the hips and glutes. Do it right: While seated, cross the right ankle over the left knee and sit up nice and tall. Gently lean forward, keeping the back straight and reaching out with the torso until you feel a stretch in the right glute and hip. You can also press down on the right knee to deepen the stretch. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
10. Inner Thigh Stretch- This not-very-ladylike stretch feels great on the inner thighs, hips and groin and is another hip-opening move that may help get rid of tension and stress in the lower body. Do it right: While seated, take the legs wide, toes out and lean forward with the elbows on the thighs. Keep the back straight and the abs contracted. Gently press forward while using the elbows to push the thighs out until you feel a stretch in the inner thighs. Hold for 10-30 seconds.