Stretching can activate your nervous system and increases blood flow to your muscles. Stretching may also help reduce pain and boost your mood by releasing endorphins.
Disclaimer: Although moderate physical activity such as gentle stretching is safe for most people, health experts suggest that you talk to your doctor to make sure these exercises are safe for you.
#1 Back Arch/Bow
Stretch it out: Sit up straight in your chair with your feet flat on the ground and your hands on your knees. Roll your shoulders all the way down. As you inhale, lean your head back with a slight arch in your back – you should feel the stretch in the front of your neck. Next, exhale and bow your head forward – you may feel this stretch in the back of your neck down to your low back. Repeat as many times as feels good for your body.
#2 Assisted Neck Bend
Stretch it out: Interlace your hands on the back of your head, above your neck. Now gently bend forward and use the weight of your hands and arms to help stretch your neck – don’t push down. You can also arch back to feel a nice stretch under your arms. For step 2, reach one hand over your head and gently drop your head towards your shoulder – do this to the left and right sides. Repeat as many times as feels good for your body.
#3 Back Twist
Stretch it out: Twist to the right and put your right arm over the back of your chair. Drape your left arm across your body and rest it on your right thigh – don’t use your arms/hands to pull on or over-twist your body. Take a deep breath in and exhale slowly. You should feel the stretch anywhere in your back, but especially your lower back. Repeat on the left side.
#4 Side Bend (and snap)
Stretch it out: We’re just kidding about the snap (we can’t get enough of these Legally Blonde references… ammirite?). For this stretch, you’re going to reach your right arm across your body and use the left side of your seat or thigh for leverage. Then lift your left arm up and bend to the right. You’ll want to feel the stretch in the left side of your body and shoulder – but be careful not to overstretch. Repeat on the other side.
Stretch it out: For the last stretch, put elbows on the edge of your desk. You’ll then push your chest and shoulders downward (you may need to scoot your butt backward to really get into this stretch). Hold the stretch while deeply breathing in and out for a few seconds. Repeat as many times as feels good for your body.
Another great way to keep moving throughout the day is by incorporating a chair that encourages movement – like a dynamic stool. Dynamic stools force you to sit actively. Active sitting means that you slightly change your sitting position as often as possible. Dynamic work stools, like the Muvman or Swopper, engage your core, promote movement, and support perching at your desk for more productivity while working. Dynamic sitters feel healthier and more energetic – not to mention it’s just plain fun!