Stretching at work

White collar jobs demand that you remain deskbound for long hours. This can strain and cramp your muscles and make you feel tired. What you need do to is simple stretches in between your work hours, to relax your muscles and keep you active for the entire day.

How stretching benefits you
Stretching increases flexibility, and improves blood flow in the muscles. The improved range of motion ensures better balance. Besides, stretching can be done at anytime during the day and takes only about 15 seconds per exercise. Stretching is advised before you start any form of exercise, and warms up your muscles before any kind of physical activity. Let us look at the common stretching exercises you could do.

Stretching your shoulders
Do this to release tension in the shoulders. Sit straight with both shoulders at the same level. Now raise your shoulders toward your ears until you feel a slight tension in the neck and shoulders. Hold this position for five seconds and slowly release. Repeat twice.

Stretching your neck
This is to relax your neck muscles. Looking at your computer for long hours may put increased pressure on your neck. Look forward and straight. Slowly tilt you head towards the left and hold for 15 seconds. Now move back to your original position and relax. Do this on the other side as well. Repeat this thrice on each side. Keep your shoulders relaxed while doing this exercise.

Shoulder and chest stretches
Interlace your fingers and hold them behind your head. Keep the elbows straight towards the side and the upper body erect. Now pull your shoulders towards each other. You will feel tension in the upper back and shoulder blades. Hold this position for five seconds, and then relax. Feel the stretch as it relaxes your shoulder, chest and upper back muscles.

Hands and arms stretches
This stretch relaxes the muscles in your shoulders, arms, wrists and fingers. It is particularly beneficial if you’ve been working long on the keyboard. Interlace your fingers. Now straighten your arms outwards. Your palms should face outwards. Feel the stretch in the arms and your upper back, near the shoulders. Hold this for 15 seconds. Repeat twice.

Fingers stretch
Using the keyboards for long hours can strain your fingers. Open your palms wide and stretch your fingers and hold for 10 seconds until you feel the tension. Now make a tight fist and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat this twice. You can also hold your fingers of one hand with the other and pull till you feel a stretch.

Back stretch
Back is one area of the body where we put excessive pressure while sitting for long hours at work, or by carrying heavy bags, or even while standing in the train or bus. Put your hands on your back, just above your hips. Push the elbows back and gently push your back forwards. Now move your upper body upward and hold this position for 10 seconds. You will feel the pressure on your hip bones. Repeat twice while breathing normally. You can do this while sitting also.

Touching your toes
This exercise will loosen your back. Sit and touch your toes as you lean forward and stretch; keep neck relaxed and head down. Maintain this position for 10 seconds. Relax and slowly get back to your normal position. You can also do this while sitting on a chair. Remember to use your hand to push while getting back to original straight/erect position.

The door stretch
This is another good stretching exercise to release tension from your shoulders. Stand holding both sides of a door at shoulder level. Push and bend forward till you feel a comfortable stretch. Keep your knees slightly bent, and chest and head held up. Hold the position for 15 seconds while breathing normally.

Last word
Stretching exercises create a tension in your body, which in turn increases flexibility, in your muscles. Remember not to overstretch or hold your breath while stretching. Remain in the stretched positions for some time if you do not feel any tension in the muscles concerned.

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