Deskercise! The Best Stretches For Office Workers

Ever since Dr. Levine’s article on the risks of sitting for extended periods of time was published on Mayo Clinic, employees around the world have been trying to get bums off seats more frequently!

Dr. Levine wrote, ”Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. Too much sitting also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.” You can read the full article here.

Our in-house physiotherapist has also reported that there are more neck and back related injuries from poor posture whilst sitting than ever before. If you experiencing any of these pains, please call (0477 707 778) or email us (reception@studiopp.com.au) to book an appointment with Nicole.

According to Dr. Levine, these are the solutions:

  • Stand while talking on the phone or eating lunch.
  • If you work at a desk for long periods of time, try a standing desk — or improvise with a high table or counter.
  • Walk laps with your colleagues rather than gathering in a conference room for meetings.
  • Position your work surface above a treadmill — with a computer screen and keyboard on a stand or a specialised treadmill-ready vertical desk — so that you can be in motion throughout the day.

However, if you can’t stand up that frequently (or get a treadmill in your office), try implementing these 5 easy stretches into your day. Kari, head of personal training at Studio PP, suggests setting a reminder once per hour to stretch and you will start to feel those aches and pains fade away.

  1. Piriformis Release

    The Piriformis muscle group are at an especially high risk of tightening after long days at a desk. This is a simple stretch that you can perform at your desk throughout the day.

    Exercise: Cross one leg over the other with your ankle resting on the knee of the opposite leg. Gently press down on the inside of the knee and slowly lean forward until you feel a mild stretch in the hips.

2. Shoulder Activation

Shoulder activation helps your body stay in a strong natural posture allowing your shoulders to stay open and not rolling forward

Exercise: Sitting at your desk extend your hands in front of shoulders facing each other. Reach your fingertips forward to slightly round through the upper back spreading your shoulder blades apart. Starting with your shoulders pull them back to neutral spin while pulling your shoulders away from your ears and lengthen your spine.

3. Lat Pull Down

Lat pull down helps stretch the upper trapezius muscles which can get tight when your shoulders start rising towards your ears from being tense and improper posture when working on the computer.

Exercise: This stretch can be performed either standing or sitting. Make sure your core is engaged and you don’t start arching in the lower back. Start with your hands above your head facing away from you. Pull your elbows down towards your hip sockets. Your thumbs should touch the side of your shoulders. Lift your chest up and lengthen your collarbones. Slowly bring your hands back above your head and repeat the move 5-8 times.

4. Pray and Away

Pray and away is a perfect stretch when you’re sitting at your desk for a long period of time. The key is to open the chest, roll your shoulders back and down and lengthen your spine.

Exercise: Sitting bend your elbows at 90 degrees in front of your chest, bring them together and seperate them while squeezing your shoulder blades together and chest tall.

5. Tricep Side Stretch

Hunching over keyboards strains the cervical spine and stiffens our shoulders. Completing the Tricep and Side Stretch helps relieve any pain in the triceps / shoulders while completing lateral flexion releases stiffness in the back.

Exercise: Either sit or stand upright with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms hanging loosely at your sides. Raise your right arm up and bend it so that your right hand can touch the back of your left shoulder. Raise your left arm and using an overhanded reach (palm down), grasp your right elbow and gently pull to stretch the tricep and shoulder. When you feel the stretch, complete a lateral stretch to the left to feel a stretch on the right side of your obliques. Hold for 10 seconds while taking deep breaths. Switch sides.

 

Steph Prem

Director & Founder

Steph is the founder and director of Premium Performance training method and owner and head trainer at Studio PP. Steph is a former Winter Olympian and spent 10 years of her life as a professional athlete. Steph’s passion for Pilates stems from a 4 year rehab stint (consisting solidly of corrective exercise and Pilates) following her career ending back injury in 2010. Steph has trained and worked alongside some of Australia’s industry leaders, has 15 years dance experience and is clinically trained. She lives and breathes health, wellness and an active lifestyle and is an embodiment of her brand.

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