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Is your neck hurting? Or are your shoulders making you feel fidgety? You have probably been sitting in one place since morning and haven’t moved at all. We get it, a sedentary lifestyle wreaks havoc on your muscles. To top it all, you may be hunching your shoulders and sitting on a chair that is not ideal for good posture. As a result, your shoulders and neck are stiff, your back is tight, and you have tension and headaches. The solution - exercise at least 4 times a week.
If you can’t visit a fitness center regularly, you can always do some stretches at work. It only takes a few minutes and gets rid of the aches and pains due to prolonged sitting. You might not be overweight but sitting all day long can cause some serious health problems. So, the next time you start feeling uncomfortable on your office chair, try some stretches.
And if you want a permanent solution for these problems, start working out with FITPASS. Your busy schedule might not allow you to workout. But, FITPASS allows you to reserve workouts at nearby gyms and workout whenever you have time.
Your desktop is possibly the arch-nemesis of your shoulders. All the typing, clicking, reading, and scrunching jam your shoulders and therefore, stiffen several muscles in your back. Some people hunch anyway, which makes the shoulder muscles and traps even tighter with tension. Shoulder shrugs get the blood moving through these body parts. Performing this exercise will make it easier for you to go through the day.
How to do shoulder shrugs - while sitting or standing, lift your shoulders towards your ears. Squeeze them as hard as you can and hold for up to 2 seconds at maximum extension before rolling them back down. Repeat 8-10 times.
You might be spending too much time hunched forward, which is why stretching your chest is one of the best things you can and should do. You may use a resistance band, which is recommended or you can simply interlace your fingers. A doorway is another easily accessible equipment with which to stretch your chest – place your hands on either side of the doorway and gently press forward until you feel a stretch in your chest.
How to stretch your chest – Raise your arms and interlace the fingers and push them behind you. You can do this while sitting or standing. Straighten your arms by gently lifting your hands a few inches. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. You should avoid this exercise if you have a shoulder injury.
The lower back suffers the most when you sit for prolonged periods. The result is tightness and an unbearable ache. The spinal twist allows you to gently reduce the tension. However, just a little twist is enough to feel the stretch.
How to do the spinal twist – While sitting on your chair, place your feet flat on the floor and engage your abs. Place your hands on the handles of the chair and use them to put pressure as you rotate your torso towards the right. Don’t twist too far – twist only as far as you feel comfortable and keep your back straight and hips square. Hold for at least 10 seconds and repeat on the left side.
Shoulder shrugs improve circulation and the upper back stretch opens all the muscles between shoulder blades, traps, and shoulders. Spend a good amount of time doing this exercise if your shoulders and upper back often feel stiff.
How to stretch your upper back – stretch out your arms straight ahead of you with your palms facing outwards – away from each other. Next, cross your arms to press your arms together. Engage your abs and bend your back. Let your back curve as if you are bending forward on an imaginary ball. Hold for at least 10 seconds. If you’re unable to twist your arms, just interlace your fingers together.
The child’s pose and the cat-cow pose are great exercises for the back as well. However, it might not be feasible for you to perform these in your office. You should practice these poses at home or at your gym to improve the flexibility of your back.
It is hard to maintain a correct posture even if you make a conscious effort. And inevitably, backache follows. The simplest solution to this is to stretch all the muscles of your back, sides, and arms. Simply stretch the arms downward to their respective sides to deepen the stretch.
How to stretch your torso – while seated or standing, interlace your fingers together, take a deep breath, and stretch your arms up towards the ceiling. Stretch as high as you can and exhale before releasing your palms and letting your hands down. Repeat 8 to 10 times.
Your neck muscles may be tighter than you think. Do a stretch and you will find out just how much you need this stretch. Tension in the neck doesn’t only make you feel uncomfortable, it causes tension in the upper neck and headaches as well. It is difficult to keep your neck straight while working; people commonly let it drop forward, which puts extra stress on the muscles.
How to stretch your neck – reach down the side of your chair and grab a part (preferably the bottom) of the seat. Tilt your head in the other direction than the side you’re holding the chair. You will feel a stretch on the side of your neck and shoulder. Hold for at least 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.
While the upper body gets the worst of sitting for hours on end, your lower body also gets tight from sitting for too long as well, especially your hip flexors. The glutes stretch while the hip flexors are shortened when you sit, which leads to tightness in your hips. Performing this stretch will get you out of the chair and provide instant relief. Do it several times to reduce the tightness.
How to stretch your hip flexors – stand up and place your right leg back a few feet and bend the knee – like doing a lunge. Let your knee bend till you feel a stretch in the front of your right hip. Squeezing the glutes of the back leg (right in this case) will deepen the stretch. Hold for at least 10 seconds and repeat on the left leg.