When you sit for long periods of time certain postural muscles, like your shoulder muscles, become overworked. These will tend to become short and tight from overuse, whereas other muscles like your gluteals (buttocks), abdominal (stomach) and mid-back muscles will become weak. You have to move.
- Get up from your desk regularly and walk around.
- Take time to do some easy stretches.
Here are some effective and simple stretches you can do at your desk. Remember; only do them until you feel a stretch. Don’t persevere if you experience any unusual pain. Don’t overextend yourself.
Neck Stretches (keep your head aligned, do not stick it forward)
- Tuck your chin and hold for 5 seconds.
- Slowly tilt your head toward each shoulder.
- Slowly turn your head from side to side, looking over each shoulder.
- Shrug your shoulders then relax them. Roll your shoulders forward and backward. Gently shake your shoulders.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold a few seconds.
- Reach one arm over your head and stretch, while stretching bend to the side (a side bend). Do both sides.
Hand and Wrist Stretches
- Make a fist then open your hand and spread your fingers as far as you can go and repeat.
- Hold your arms straight out in front of your body, bend your hands up and down repeatedly so that your fingers point to the ceiling and then to the floor.
- Place your palms together with fingers pointing toward the ceiling. Keeping your palms together, slowly lower your hands toward the floor until you feel a stretch in your wrists.
Upper Back and Arm Stretches while sitting
- Sit up straight, place your hands behind your head, move your elbows backwards until you feel a stretch in the top of your arms and front of your shoulders.
- Sitting upright, extend your arms out in front of you, crossing them at the wrists and placing your palms together. Push your arms out a little further in front of you until you feel the stretch in your upper back, shoulders and upper arms.
- Interlace your fingers with palms facing away from your body, straighten your arms and lift them above your head toward the ceiling.
- Hold your arms straight out to the sides, wrists flexed and stretch them as though you are pushing something away on each side.
Lower Back Stretches while sitting (if your chair moves, do these on a chair without castors)
- Bend forward in your chair and if able, touch your hands to the floor (to your ankles or shins is fine too). Carefully arch your back to stretch, then relax your back. Repeat.
- Grasp one leg at the shin; slowly pull your leg up to your chest. Repeat with the other leg. If you have knee pain, place your hands behind the thigh and slowly pull your leg up to your chest.
- Place hands in the small of your back and bend backwards slowly just until you feel a gentle stretch.
- Stretch your arms behind your back and clasp your fingers together, feel the stretch across your chest and collar bone and top of your arms.
- Periodically look away from the computer and focus on something in the distance.
- Rub your palms together vigorously until warm then cover your eyes with them for 15 seconds.
- To prevent dry eyes deliberately blink periodically or keep eyes closed for a second or two.