Updated: Sep 3, 2020
Sitting at a desk all day can be rough. Whether you are a student or working a desk job, spending 8 hours a day hunched over a computer can no doubt lead to discomfort and stiffness.
I deal with these types of problems in my patients quite often and they always find that the addition of a few simple exercises into their work days can make a huge difference.
The other benefit to stretching at work: it takes less time out of your busy schedule. Living in Northern Virginia, I am keen to the fact that people sometimes have very little extra time in their work week to incorporate exercise, but I never let them use that as an excuse! If you want to feel better, you will make time. Plain and simple! You have heard me say it a million times before, consistency is key!
So, here are a few EASY exercises you can do right at your desk with minimal interruption to your work flow. The perfect way to help get rid of that neck pain or mid-back stiffness.
1. Upper Trap Stretches
Relax your shoulders down then tilt your ear towards your shoulder until a gentle pull is felt. Trouble keeping your shoulders relaxed? Try holding onto the bottom of your chair. Hold 3 x 20 seconds on each side
2. Rhomboid (Mid-back) Stretch
Sit with both feet on the floor. Interlock your fingers and extend arms in front of you as you round your back and look down. You should feel the stretch between your shoulder blades. Hold 3 x 20 seconds
3. Seated Pec Stretch
While seated in chair, place both hands behind your head and pull your shoulders as far back as possible. Slightly lean back and look up at the ceiling to increase the stretch. Hold 3 x 20 seconds
4. Doorway stretches
Stand in your door way with arms at one of the 3 positions shown below. First, pull your shoulders back and down, then gently step through the doorway until stretch is felt along the front of the shoulders.
Hold 3 x 20 seconds
Begin seated in a neutral spine position (The video I posted shows it lying down, but you can easily do it seated in your chair!!). Engage the abdominals by imagining bringing the belly button toward your spine without moving the pelvis or low back. You should feel your deep core contract.
Hold 5 seconds, repeat 10x.
6. Seated figure 4
Cross one leg over the other and gently push down the knee. Lean forward with a straight back until stretch is felt along the gluteals. Hold 3 x 20 seconds
7. Seated Hamstring stretch
Begin seated on the edge of your chair with one leg out straight and heel on the ground. Keeping your back straight, lean forward like you are trying to bring the belly button towards the thigh, until a stretch is felt in the back of the leg. Hold 3 x 20 seconds.
8. Y’s at the wall
Begin standing facing a blank wall with elbows bent and pinky side of hand on the wall. Slowly slide your hands overhead into a “Y” shape, keeping the thumbs facing back. As you are raising your arms, imagine bringing the tip of your shoulder blade closer to the wall, this will engage your serrates muscle and help keep your upper traps relaxed. Once at the top, lift the arms off the wall, hold for 1 second, then return to starting position. Repeat 2 x 10