We work more than ever and we spend more time at a computer, whether that be on a desk, on our laps, on your knees in bed, and this all creates tight muscle and fascia patterns in our bodies. Remember we were created as hunters & gatherers not keyboard warriors - so our bodies don’t work well with limited movements.
We don’t allow ourselves the time of our time to get the movement we need. This can lead to postural imbalances and muscle pain/tightness. Here are 5 stretches and movements that you can do at your desk - wherever that may be - to keep your body moving.
Wrist Stretches and Exercises
If you don’t have proper range of motion within your wrists and hands it can impact the simplest of tasks and how we perform everyday.
Wrist Flexor/Extensor Stretch
Put your arm out with your palm facing the ceiling
Use your other hand to gently pull your fingers downwards towards the floor
You will feel a stretch in the under part of your forearm
Hold for 30 seconds to a minute and repeat onto the other hand
Put your arm out with your palm facing the ground
Use your other hand to gently push your hand down towards your body
You will feel a stretch along the upper part of your forearm
Hold for 30 seconds to a minute and repeat on the other hand
Repeat both stretches a couple of times a day on each wrist
Wrist Figure 8s/Infinities
Clasps your hands together by interlocking your fingers and hold your elbows together
Create a figure 8 or infinity symbol with your hands, making sure that only your wrist and hands are moving and you arms remain still
Make sure not to tense your muscles while performing the movement
Reverse the movement into the other direction and repeat until you feel looser
Note: This is difficult and may take some time to perfect the execution, get as close as you can and acknowledge the improvements you make after time.
Neck and Shoulder Range of Motion Exercises
Sitting in one position for lengthy periods of time can produce a feeling of being ‘stuck’, a stiffness or tightness in your neck, shoulders and upper back. To help eliminate or avoid this feeling it is important to engage the complex range of muscles that attach the neck to the shoulders.
Left to Right
Keep your shoulders still, slowly move your head to look over your right shoulder as far as you comfortably can and hold for 20 seconds
Repeat to the left
Compare the range of motion on each side. Can you get more range from one side? Does one side feel tighter than the other? If so you may need some release work (self release with a massage ball or with a therapist)
Up & Down
Tuck your chin down to your chest and hold for 20 seconds and back to neutral
Tilt your head backwards as far as you can and hold for 20 seconds
Notice any tightness in your shoulders
Side to Side
Move your left ear to your left shoulder, hold for 20 seconds and back to neutral
Repeat on the right
Notice if you can go further on one side and where you feel tightness
Slow half circles
Turn to face your right, slowly draw a semi with your chin from your right shoulder to your left and back again
Then roll your head backwards across your shoulders
Notice the areas of stiffness or tightness
Repeat these exercises to 5 times each 2 - 3 times during your day.
Make sure you are not rushing these movements, rather do it at a slow-medium pace so that your body can register the motions and feel every sensation.
Shoulder Flexion: From a resting position of arms by your side, with straight arms, move them up and over your head, stopping by your ears
Shoulder Extension: Bring your arms back down and all the way back past your hips, as far as you can extend without moving your hips
Shoulder Abduction & Adduction: Move your arms out and upwards, from by your side to over your head and down again - similar to a motion when you are performing star jumps
Repeat each of these exercises 10 times twice a day.
You can head to our instagram page or youtube channel to see videos of these exercises.
Upper Body Mobility
Posture suffers when we sit for long periods of time. Slumping can cause a kyphosis curve in our upper back, which can lead to tightness. This also leads to compression of the thorax. Mobilising our thoracic spine helps us to undo this posture to ensure our bodies don’t hang on to it and make it a more permanent feature.
A compressed thorax will hinder breathing, causing a range of symptoms including tight shoulders, shallow breathing, fatigue and headaches.
This is a great stretch to add to your day hourly.
Seated Thoracic Spine Mobility
While seated, cross your arms across your chest
At your hips, turn your thorax (chest and abdomen) to one side until you can feel a stretch in your lumbar region
Repeat in the opposite direction
Repeat this 4 times every hour or couple of hours to release the muscles in your back and ensure you don’t take poor posture with you throughout the day.