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Future Health

Stretching While Sitting

April 12, 2021 

Whether you work a desk job, you are in school, or you spend long hours on the computer for other reasons, you probably are familiar with tight muscles, headaches and eyestrain. These common side effects of sitting for too long can make you inefficient and might even be cumulatively detrimental to your health.

Combining these physical stressors can leave you feeling worn down and might translate to other areas of your life such as pain during exercise or weakened back muscles.

It is important to lessen the strain that can be caused by prolonged sitting. You can start feeling better today by doing some simple stretching exercises while sitting. Do these when you feel tense or stiff.

The list of exercises that follows is a great start and can help you see dramatic and instant improvements.

  • Wrist flexor stretches: It is important to work the flexor muscles of the forearm that connect to the wrist. Start by holding one arm parallel to the floor. Bend your wrist so that your fingers are pointing toward the floor. Grasp the palm of the extended arm with your opposite hand, and gently bend your wrist as far as you can to feel the stretch. Hold the position for 15 seconds, and release. Repeat three times, and then switch arms.
  • Seated twist stretch: Sit upright so that your spine is perpendicular to the floor. Inhale deeply. Then exhale, and twist to one side in a motion that would have you looking behind yourself. Grab the chair arm or side of your desk to gently push further into the stretch. This exercise is particularly effective in helping loosen your back and preventing the aches that come from tight back muscles.
  • Seated back bend: Sit with your spine as straight as possible. Open your arms wide and during exhalation, try to point your chest toward the ceiling without craning your neck backward.
  • Hamstring stretch: For this exercise, you must stand up and touch your toes. Fold your torso over your legs by bending at the hips rather than the lower back. Attempt to touch your toes without bending your knees. If this is too easy, attempt to place your palms on the floor for a deeper, even more effective stretch.

These are only a few examples of exercises that can help you maintain proper posture during those long work hours. They come with a host of other benefits such as better digestion, reduced risk for headaches, and can be an effective way to take a break to optimize your work productivity. You will be more comfortable if you perform these stretches two or more times a week.

If your not sure if these are good exercises for you, consult your doctor or physical therapist.