As of April, a CNBC survey found 42% of survey participants were working from home, perhaps in their best yoga pants for work. To compare, before the COVID-19 pandemic, this number was closer to 9%. Whether you were working from home already or just joined the ranks recently, working via a computer all day can do some disservice to the body. Thankfully, you can do the following stretches, which are designed for anyone sitting at a desk be it at home or in the office:
Low Back Release
This is an easy-to-do stretch you can complete right in your desk chair, wearing stretchy yoga pants is advised to allow motion. It is designed to ease the stiffness in your lower back, which is a common problem area when you have to sit at a desk for hours. Here’s how to do this stretch:
- Sit sideways in your non-rolling desk chair (move to a stationary chair if your chair doesn’t sit upright and remain still).
- Grab the back of the chair with the arm that is closest to it.
- Twist the front of your body towards the back of the chair (gently).
- With your other arm, try to reach your opposite knee.
Various Neck Exercises
Another common problem area when sitting at a desk for hours is the neck region. The following are a few effective ways to get those neck muscles stretched out:
- Chin-to-Chest: This is exactly what it sounds like. From a neutral position, move your chin towards your chest, then move back to neutral and look up towards the ceiling. Repeat as necessary.
- Left-to-Right: From the neutral position, turn your head slowly to the right, then back to neutral then to the left.
- Ear-to-Shoulder: From a neutral position, move your left ear towards your left shoulder, then back to neutral and then move your right ear towards your right shoulder. (Don’t move your shoulder to meet your ear, instead let your neck stretch.)
This stretch counteracts the negative effects of slouching. To do this stretch:
- Stand up and move your arms behind your body.
- Next, join your hands together near your lower back. This will instantly open up your shoulders and chest.
- Then, move your hands up as high as possible while keeping your hands clasped and do not bend your elbows.
- To add another element to the stretch, bend forward at your hips and move your arms even higher up. This will efficiently stretch not just your chest and shoulders but your lower back too.
Finally, to stretch your body even while sitting at your desk, try shoulder rolls. Here’s how you complete this exercise:
- From a neutral posture, lift your shoulders as high as you can. (think huge shrug).
- Then roll your shoulders back and around, slowly.
- Make sure you achieve the maximum movement in each direction.
- Complete three to five full circles in one direction, then change directions and complete three to five circles the other direction.
When your body feels stiff and you know it needs a break from sitting at your desk, try the stretches listed above. Each of them are designed to target the specific parts of your body that are most negatively affected by sitting at a desk for hours.