We all have complained – at least once – of back, shoulder, or arm pain from sitting in front of a computer. But usually, we do nothing about it. Well, this is more serious than we think and can cause long term repercussions if we don’t take care of it.
A research made by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed that 8 in 10 Americans will experience significant lower back pain at some point in their lives, and guess what? According to a study of job industry trends, 8 out 10 Americans have sedentary jobs and work at a desk… too much of a coincidence? NO! So people, it’s time to stretch that body before starting our work day.
Here are some stretches provided by HealthLine.com that will help you start your day fresh and end it with no pain. It won’t take you more than 10 minutes, but you will feel the difference right away.
1. The Daydream: Gently pull each elbow to the opposite side overhead. Just pretend you’re under a Tahitian waterfall and need to scrub your shoulder blades.
2. The Carpet Gazer: Remaining seated, extend your legs and reach toward your toes. Stare at the purplish-gray office carpet or search for lost bits of popcorn for 20 seconds.
3. The Half-Bear Hug: Hug one knee at a time, pulling it toward your chest. Tell passers-by you need a mini childhood flashback, or that “this is how you roll.”
4. The Olympic Diver: Clasp your hands in front of you and lower your head in line with your arms. Pretend you actually know how to dive correctly, and use this “proper technique” to impress your cubicle companions.
5. The Almost-Aerobics Reach: Extend each arm overhead and to the opposite side as you imagine Richard Simmons goading you toward a fabulous body.
6. The “Who Cares if I’m at Work” Shrug: Raise both shoulders at once up toward the ears. Drop them and repeat as you explain to your boss that you are, indeed, listening with interest.
7. The Freedom Search: Clasp hands behind your back, push the chest outward, and raise the chin. Count yourself lucky if you’re not looking at suspended ceiling tiles and fluorescent bulbs. Tip: If you’re feeling really tight, try holding the pose for longer.
8. The Spine-Popping Chatterbox: Cross your legs and alternate twists toward the back of the chair. Use the rear-facing position to comment on your neighbor’s color-coded file system with near genuine admiration. Tip: Exhale as you lean into a stretch for a greater range of motion.
9. The Happy Cheer: Clasp hands together above the head, stretching upward. Follow up with “spirit fingers” or some other equally cheesy high school rom-com reference to aerobic activities.
10. The Leaning Tower of Cheer: Repeat The Happy Cheer, but lean arms and shoulders to the side—as if you’ve had too much to drink and the floor really is that crooked under your chair.
11. The Dead Robot Dance: Lean your head forward and slowly roll from side to side. Picture all of the times you finished a less-than-polished robot dance with dangling head and arm, and vow to record it next time.
12. The Sophomore Headshot: Gently pull your head toward each shoulder. Think of your yearbook photo—the one in which you tried to pose like a model but ended up looking off-kilter and half-blinking. Tip: With each stretch, you may find yourself more flexible. Don’t go further than is comfortable.
Besides stretching in the morning, it is very helpful to stretch spontaneously, throughout the day. Go for that area that feels tense for a minute or two. It will help reduce and control unwanted tension and pain. Also, to prevent bad postures, there are some amazing work-space tools that can help you improve your posture while you work at your desk. Check the ones we have at our office:
Don’t think it twice, take a 5 or 10 minute break and do your stretches, your body will thank you for it!
- Arthritis, Osteoporosis, and Chronic Back Conditions – Healthy People. (n.d.). Healthy People 2020 – Improving the Health of Americans. Retrieved July 31, 2013, from http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topicsobjectives2020/overview.aspx?topicid=3
- PLOS ONE: Trends over 5 Decades in U.S. Occupation-Related Physical Activity and Their Associations with Obesity. (n.d.). PLOS ONE: accelerating the publication of peer-reviewed science. Retrieved July 31, 2013, fromhttp://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0019657
- The Ultimate “Deskercise” Stretch Routine. Retrieved August 19, 2015, from http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/deskercise#1