It’s that time of year when we all want to get in shape for Summer, and more importantly, we all start thinking a bit healthier as salad finally seems like a good option for a meal.
This post is going to be aimed at office workers, people who sit down for long periods of time or have quite hunched posture. These exercises/stretches aren’t going to add up to a complete workout, but they’ll go a long way to making you feel better if you sit down all day.
As you can see from our friend in the picture, the hunched shoulders and protruding head and neck are putting his spine and shoulders completely away from good posture.
If you start to look a little deeper, you’d find out that it affects the following muscles in the following ways:
Tight Muscles – Chest, shoulders, neck
Loose Muscles – Upper back, lower back, upper arms, glutes
The problem is that most of these muscles work opposite each other, and if they’re constantly holding tension that isn’t getting released, your range of movement and general health and muscle tone will decrease.
What can we do about it?
I’m not going to tell you to start prancing around the office doing lunges, squats and star jumps, but here’s a couple of stretches and tensing exercises that if you do them three times per day (they take about 90 seconds) you’ll really notice the difference in your posture, lower back and general health.
This simple stretch engages your upper and lower back, and should be held for about 5 seconds before switching to the other arm. Complete this move a couple of times so you hit fifteen seconds on each arm. It will help alleviate the stress through your back and feels really good.
Sit completely upright in your chair, pull your shoulders back as far as they can go, and then repeat this 3 times, you should feel a lot of the tension in your chest getting eased.
This engages the upper back muscles and also stretches the pecs, remember we’re going for practical ones that won’t get people’s attention. Just stretches that you can easily do at your desk, without too much effort.
Torso rotations like this will wake up your core muscles, lower back and shoulders… These should all be done in a sequence 2-3 times per day. You might even need to set alarms on your phone to remind yourself.
Finally, as I don’t want to overwhelm you with 50 different stretches today, this is an easy one. Just lift your leg onto your knee and push down on the knee.
This will really start to stretch your glutes, when you put the leg back on the floor… tense your glutes for five seconds at a time. Just to see how well you can activate the muscle. Then switch to the other leg.
There you have it, the comprehensive beginners guide for stretching at work. These are by no means all you need to know, but by committing to them and doing it three times per day. You’ll start to stand a little straighter, feel a little more energised and posture is something we all can improve on!
Have a great day 🙂 and don’t forget to get your phone out and save reminders of when to do these stretches!!