For people who spend most of their work day sitting down, being sedentary for most of your day can only hurt your posture and back. Without the chance to move around, our bodies become stiff and inflexible, which is bad news for our muscles. The best thing you can do for your body is to take stretch breaks throughout the day. Not only will it keep you more alert and help you focus on your work, but you can perform these stretches right in your cubicle without bothering any of your coworkers.
What to expect from seated stretch
There are plenty of stretches you can perform from your office chair. You can stretch out your neck, which does not often get the exercise attention it needs. Neck exercises are devastatingly simple. You just stretch backwards, forwards, to the sides, and by looking over each shoulder. The chest and biceps stretch can be performed standing or sitting, since you’re only holding your hands behind your back and stretching them upwards. A simple shoulder stretch merely entails holding one arm across your chest as you keep your shoulders relaxed, and you can stretch your torso by holding your hands together and reaching them straight up to the ceiling. Make sure you bring your hands down slowly after each rep. Each of these exercises demands straight posture, both so you can breathe easily during them and so your muscle groups are not strained from slouching and thus reap no benefits, or get injured.
How to prepare for the seated stretch
Stretching in your seat is great not just for people who work in an office, but for those who do not have great balance and so prefer to be seated. Just make sure that your chair is sturdy enough to stay upright if you wiggle around a bit. Before you begin you should probably scooch your chair back from the desk a bit, so you don’t accidentally knock anything over or hit your arm on the wall. If you want to bring in some equipment, you can trade your chair of a stability ball, or use a hand gripper to exercise your hands as you read from your computer monitor.
Muscles you'll engage with the seated stretch
Seat stretching mainly works out the muscles above your waist since those are the easy muscles to move around as you sit. The stretches listed above work out your neck, shoulders muscles, back muscles, chest, biceps, and torso. Stretching out your legs is probably best left for at home, where you can spread out on the floor and stretch out your hamstrings and such. Your muscles above the waist need to be loosened up the most because those are the areas that can be compromised while you are working at a desk. You’re probably slouching, and your arms aren’t getting much movement as your fingers type, and since most people do not have their computer screens and chairs at the correct height you are probably straining your neck more than you have to. Compared to that, your leg muscles are fine and can wait until you get home. But your upper-body muscles are key to your comfort, and as bad posture persists it begins to affect each muscle group in a domino-like effect. You won’t just be easing your pain, but pumping energetic life back into those muscles!
Tips for success with the seated stretch
Remember that you should only hold each stretch for about 30 seconds, and stop immediately if you begin to feel pain. To keep the blood flowing throughout your body, you should try to stand up and take a few steps every half-hour, even if you are just walking to the kitchen and back. Whenever you feel yourself starting to lose focus or wait for your slow internet to load, you can push out a few stretches. You’ll feel better if you keep a water bottle nearby to sip through regularly, and make sure you are taking good deep breaths as you exercise.