Desk based work, as mundane as it seems is in fact fraught with danger. The dangers of desk based work are not like those of working in construction, heavy lifting jobs and working with chemicals but there are none the less dangers to an office job. If you spend long hours in front of a computer screen, sat at a desk without moving, you are putting your long term health at tremendous risk. Of course, you may feel there is nothing you can do but a few small changes can in actual fact make a huge difference.
Professional osteopaths recommend ‘desk stretches’ to protect the health of your bones and muscles. Desk stretching can help relieve back pain, neck pain and the pain from sitting for long periods of time. Try some of the following stretches and feel the difference for yourself:
The Shoulder Stretches
To perform the shoulder stretch, sit upright and straight on your chair, clasp your hands behind your back, push your chest outward, raise your chin and hold this position from between 10 to 30 seconds.
The Upper Back Stretches
Once again, seated upright and straight on a comfortable chair, hold your hands together, palms down and outstretched, lower your head so it is just between your outstretched arms and stay like this for 10 to 30 seconds.
The Torso Stretch
While seated, place your feet on the ground, facing forward, leave one arm hanging down by your legs and place the other hand to rest on the chair, twist your upper body in the direction of your arm rested on the chair. Stay like this for approx 10-30 seconds.
Hip & Knee Stretch (Knee Hug)
‘Hug’ you knees, one at a time, bringing them towards your chest, do this with each knee alternating for 10 to 30 seconds.
While seated, stretch your legs outward, one at a time, reaching towards your toes, alternate between both legs for 10-30 seconds each time.
The Shoulder Shrug
As the name suggests, this is a simple, straightforward but effective desk exercise where you simply shrug your shoulders. Raise both shoulders up to your ears then drop them down in sets of 10 at a time.
The Neck Stretches
Get relaxed in your seat then lean forward. Start to slowly and carefully bring your head towards your right then your left shoulder in alternation. After going from right to left, get back into centre position and raise your head to it’s normal position before repeating the neck stretch 3 more times.
Upper Trapezius Stretch
With extreme care and caution, bring your right ear towards your right shoulder, raise it back up then do the same on your left side. Lean your head back enough to feel a mild strain but nothing more, holding the position 10-15 seconds.
Along with getting up walking around at least once an hour and taking regular breaks, desk exercises can greatly improve your health while working at the desk and aid your productivity at the same time.
We strongly recommend keeping your time spent at a desk as active as possible. Not only will your body thank you but you’ll notice the benefit in your productivity. Keeping active will keep your brain alert and result in greater output, regardless of the tasks you are doing!