If you work in an office, the chances are you’re spending a minimum of 8 hours sitting down – that’s 40 hours a week.
I mean, think about it. You might drive to work, sit down at your desk for at least 6 hours at work, drive home, and sit down to watch TV or read a book. Am I right?
And if you think that’s without it’s health risks, you’d be seriously mistaken. So next time you’re feeling a bit fidgety or you’re on your lunch break, try these 15 office stretching exercises. They’re simple, quick AND they’ll give you that energetic boost you need to increase your productivity – it’s a win-win situation!
1. Neck & Shoulders
Hunching over your desk can strain the cervical spine and stiffen our shoulders. Try reaching your arms behind you, interlocking your fingers and lifting you arms. You should feel this stretch in your chest and shoulders.
2. ‘Cow’ & ‘Cat’ Pose
This is a yoga pose which aligns your spine and helps to improve extension and flexion in your back. Start on all fours (if you can find an empty space) and switch between arching your back like a cat and lifting your head and tailbone towards the ceiling.
3. Back of the Legs
If you don’t sit properly (and let’s be honest a lot of use don’t) you could be reducing the ability for blood to circulate properly, especially in your legs. Remaining seated, extend your legs and reach down towards your toes.
4. Overhead Stretch
This one should be easy, as it’s a natural stretch that we all do when we’re feeling a bit stiff and tired. Simply raise your arms above your head, interlock your fingers and push away from yourself. Feeling better yet?
5. Wrist Stretch
6. Thighs, Flexibility & Balance
When you spend all day sitting down, you lose a lot of your mobility and balance. Using the desk for support, stand up and raise your leg behind you, grabbing hold of the ankle (or your shin if you cant quite reach). Lift the leg as high as you can keeping your knee bent at a right angle. Hold for a few seconds then repeat on the other leg.
7. Single Leg Squat
Start by standing tall on one leg with your other leg extended out in front of you. Slowly lower yourself into a seated squat position. Repeat and remember to swap sides!
8. Low Lunges
You should feel this one in the front of your hip. Start on your knees, then bring one of your legs forward so your knee is at a right angle. Stretch your other leg back with your shin (or knee) on the floor, then lean forwards ever so slightly to feel the stretch (if you don’t already!).
9. Stress Ball Squeeze
An oldie, but a good way to improve productivity (and bust stress!). It’s also a good way to get movability your hands and forearms.
10. Eagle Arm Twist
Stay seated and extend your arms in front of you at shoulder level. Cross your right arm over your left, raise your forearms and twist your palms inwards. Hold, and then repeat with your left arm over your right.
11. Forward Bend
Stand several feet behind your chair. Raise both arms overheard and ‘hinge’ forward from your hips, keeping your back straight. Hold on to the back of the chair to keep steady for a few second, then rise back up to stand straight.
12. Standing Leg Raises
Start by holding onto the back of your chair (be careful if it has wheels!). Lean forward slightly and stick your butt out and hold your tummy in while kicking alternate legs towards the ceiling and lowering back down again with control. This will not only help to strengthen the leg muscles (which waste away when sitting), but also help lengthen the back.
13. Seated Hip Stretch
Sit towards the middle of your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Place one ankle on the opposite knee and sit tall. Maintaining a straight back, tilt forward at the waist until you feel the stretch.
14. Spinal Twist
Keeping seated with your knees in line with one another, place your left hand on your right knee and twist your entire upper body to the right, looking behind your shoulder. Hold, then twist back and repeat on the other side. This keeps your spine flexible.
15. …Now You’re a Pro Do This!
It’s okay, you don’t really have to do this – and quite frankly I don’t even know how that’s humanly possible! It does look impressive though…
Featured photo credit: Alisa Matthews via flickr.com