It’s likely that when you sit at a desk for a number of hours a week that once in a while you’ll have a few achy, uncomfortable joints or muscles. You may occasionally get an achy lower back, a tight neck or tight hamstrings from sitting at a desk. Even if you feel these don’t effect you now I would still recommend trying and incorporating them for many reasons - the maintenance of your spine, preventing future injury, preventing the rounding of shoulders/poor posture. In addition, taking a few minutes out to breathe and get your body moving, even sitting at a desk, will help you feel energised and more alert during your working day,
The following ten stretches should help you to ease these. Not all of them need to be done together but they all bring a different benefit and open up a different part of the body. Perhaps you find three that work well for you and try to integrate them into your daily routine.
Start sitting in the middle of your seat so that you can sit up tall without touching its back and complete the following sequence - it should take around ten minutes in total with sufficient pausing and breathing in each.
1 & 2. Seated Cat Cow
Take your hands to your knees, lift your chest and pull your shoulders back - take a deep inhale and as you exhale, round your spine, drop your chin to your chest, bring your thoracic (middle) spine towards the back of the chair.
3. Neck Stretch
Take your hands under your thighs and sit up as tall as you can. Let the right ear drop toward your right shoulder, hold here for 30 seconds until you feel a gentle release and repeat on the other side.
4. Reach Up
Take your hands together above your head, interlace them and pop out your first finger pointing to the sky. Stretch arms up as high as you can to lengthen your spine and let your self stretch right and left, staying on one side for a few moments.
5. Seated Twist
Take one hand behind you to the top of the chair and the other to the arm rest or the side of the seat. Lift up as tall as you can, take a breath in and twist as you breathe out. Hold it for at least 30 seconds, keeping long through your spine. Release and repeat on the other side.
6. Hip Opener
Take your right ankle over the top of the left thigh and flex the foot. Gently draw the right knee towards the ground, hold the knee and ankle and hinge forward. Hopefully you feel it in your outer right hip. Repeat on the other side.
7. Eagle Arms, Upper Back Stretch
Reach your arms to each side and then wrap the right under the left, bend your elbows, squeeze the arms together and wrap the hands until they touch. Shrug the shoulders down and draw your forearms and hands forwards and up. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on the left side.
8. Calf Stretch
Come to stand, bend through one knee and place the other heel on the ground, flexing that foot. Hold on to the desk or the back of your chair and slowly fold forward.
9. Quad Stretch
Stand tall and take the weight into one foot, lift the other and bend that knee, catching the foot in your hand. Keep the knees together and draw your hips forward, bringing the heel towards your bottom.
10. Back body and neck
Interlace hands behind your lower back, draw the shoulders behind you, extend arms, lift hands away from body and drop chin to sternum. You can do this sitting or standing at any point of the day and it should release tension in the shoulders and neck.