I work long hours at a desk and it can become excruciating sitting in the same chair for hours. I try to listen to my body when it’s telling me I’ve had enough and take a break every hour. A break of five to ten minutes per hour of movement is what’s recommended. But, sometimes I just get into what I’m doing and keep going without getting up. I should probably set an alarm for each hour to motivate me to quit for a minute when I’m on a roll. For those of us who work in front of a computer for long hours, there are exercises that can help alleviate stress and strain on the body.
The following stretches target tightness all over: the chest, front of shoulders, back, hips, glutes and hamstrings. Do them daily, either together as a stretching routine or just one every hour or so as you break from your computer or desk, to stay limber. Remember to breathe evenly while performing each stretch. Move through your full range of motion, but never to the point of pain.
These are gentle stretches. If you don’t push yourself too hard, age doesn’t matter. But check with a doctor first before doing any new exercises if you have any doubt whatsoever.
A good stretch for your back:
Stand and roll your shoulders up and down. Now clasp hands behind your back so your chest is stretched out. Then reverse the move, extending both arms forward to stretch your upper back. Last, reach each arm toward the ceiling a few times on each side. Ah, that should feel better!
Leg Raises – for hamstrings
Lie face up with your left knee bent, right leg straight, arms by your sides with palms on the floor. (A) Exhaling, lift right leg toward your chest as comfortably as possible while contracting the front of your thigh; keep your abs tight and your hands on the floor. (B) Immediately and slowly, lower your leg back to the starting position. Switch legs and repeat. Do 10-12 reps per side.
Chest Opener – for chest and front of shoulders
Stand or sit with your elbows at shoulder height, and your fingertips on ears. Exhale while squeezing shoulder blades together to pull your elbows back. Inhale as you bring your elbows in front of ears, opening your shoulders and squeezing your chest. Don’t arch your back. Do 10-12 reps, and repeat.
Core twister – for the back
Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, elbows bent out to sides at chest height with hands lightly touching. (A) Exhaling, twist upper body to one side as far as comfortably possible while keeping your lower body still. (B) Inhale, return to start, and repeat on the opposite side. Do 10-12 reps per side.
Leg Cradle – for glutes and hips
Sit on the floor, left leg extended with your right knee bent. Lift your right leg, holding outside of knee with right arm, and right ankle with left hand. (A) Slowly move your right leg in a circular motion toward your left shoulder. (B) Keeping your neck and shoulders relaxed and your spine tall, lower to starting position. Switch sides and repeat. Do 10-12 reps per side.
Warrior Pose – for calves, hips, abs and chest
Stand with your right foot pointed forward and extend your left leg behind as shown, with foot turned out about 45 degrees. Bend your right knee about 90 degrees, keeping it over your ankle, and raise arms overhead, palms facing each other. Rotate your upper body so it’s facing over your right knee. Hold for about 10-30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
Do you sit for hours at a time? Do you take a break every hour? Do you have a stretching routine every day? Let us know in the comments below!
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