Hundreds of millions of people spend their workday at a desk and if you are reading this there is a good chance you are one of them and there is almost 100% chance someone close to you is an office worker too. This means it’s likely that either you or people you care about are suffering negative effects from a day of sitting but thankfully each of us can take action to change this.
Sitting at a desk all day long isn’t great for our body, it can create a lot of imbalances and tightness in different areas. I used to work in an office years ago and I remember how much tension my body had on a daily basis. It didn’t feel good and it took a bit for me to right the ship, but I did it using a couple of different stretches to help relieve tension and loosen things up.
Our Body Adapts:
The human body is a wonderful thing and one of the most amazing things is the ability of our body to adapt to the changing conditions we experience. Our muscles, tendons, and ligaments are all excellent adaptors.
I remember coming home from work at my office job and my back and legs were feeling super stiff so I decided to bend over to touch my toes to loosen things up. The issue? I was nowhere near my toes, my hands stopped even above my knees! It was here that I realized the effect that never stretching and always sitting was having on my body. My body had adapted from the positions I was putting it in which was a seated position all day every day.
The opposite is also true when we stretch our body will adapt and allow us to access more range of motion. I didn’t like being so stiff so I spent 30 seconds to a minute every day in the shower reaching for my toes with straight legs and in a month or two I was at my toes plus my back started to open up. The key here to creating these adaptations is consistency.
5 stretches for office workers
For all of these stretches, you want to make sure you can breathe deeply, if you cannot breathe deeply then you are pushing yourself too far and you need to pull back a little bit until you can breathe calmly in through your nose and out your nose or mouth.
Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds and if you have the time go for 2 minutes. Make sure to set a timer as time seems to slow down when you stretch!
This stretch is a powerful way to open up the hip flexors and quads which are two things that get really tight when we sit for long periods of time.
1-Leg Pike Stretch:
This stretch is great to open up not only the hamstrings but also the calves, if you wear any type of shoe with an elevated heel whether it is dress shoes or heels, opening up the calves is essential as those shoes can cause a shortening of the calf and Achilles tendon which can lead to various issues.
Prone Cactus Stretch:
When we sit at a desk our shoulders will tend to hunch forward which can cause our chest muscles to tighten up which can give us a bit of rounded back. This stretch helps to open up the chest as well as the shoulders and thoracic spine to help keep our posture better.
This is another wonderful stretch to help us counteract the hunch and prevent us from turning into a hunchback as we get older. This stretch is really about opening up the core muscles as well as the core will tighten as we round forward. When our core is tight it can cause lower back pain among other things so it is a good idea to take time to open it up. This is also a favorite stretch of mine after a tough core workout.
The glutes (our butt) can get nice a bit stiff when sitting for long periods which can lead to hip and lower back problems. This is such a simple stretch to do and it feels amazing to open up the hips and give them a really nice stretch.
Do these stretches a couple of times a week and your body will love you for it both in the moment and also in the long run too!
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