Working in an office full-time consists of spending 8 hours a day in an office (40 hours a week). You may even be driving to work (more time sitting) and after finishing, spend the afternoon on the couch watching TV (sitting).
Sitting for too many hours a day can be detrimental to our health as well as our mood. If we want to promote our well-being inside and outside of work, it is advisable to do a series of stretches and exercises that help us to clear the mind and free the body from the stiffness that it suffers from spending so many hours sitting.
Here are 15 simple stretches to do at the office that will help you clear your mind and maximize your performance:
1.- Neck and Shoulders
Hunching over a desk can strain your cervical spine and stiffen your shoulders (in the long run). With your fingers clasped behind your back, try to lift both arms. We should feel the stretch in the chest and shoulders.
2.- "Cow" and "cat" posture
This is a yoga posture that helps align the spine in addition to helping to improve the flexion and extension of our back. To complete the stretch, get on all fours and alternate your posture from "arched back" to "sunken back" and head and hips raised (as in the image).
By sitting incorrectly and for long hours (as most of us do) we could be damaging the circulation of blood in our body (especially in the legs). Remaining seated, extend your legs and lean forward until your fingers touch the balls of your feet.
4.- Overhead stretch
This stretch is quite simple, it is a stretch that many of us do naturally when we feel a little stiff or tired. It consists of raising the arms above the head, interlocking the fingers of the hands, and pushing upwards.
5.- Wrist stretch
This stretch is ideal for those who spend their entire day typing (like me!). To complete the stretch, you just have to stand in front of the desk and rest your palms on the table with the inside of your wrist pointing out. Rest your weight on your wrists to feel the stretch. Hold for a few seconds in this position and stop. Then to release the wrists we can make circular wrist movements.
6.- Thighs, flexibility and balance
When we sit all day, we lose much of our mobility and balance. Using the desk for support, stand up and lift your left leg up from behind until you grab your ankle with the hand on the same side. Raise your leg as high as you can, keeping it at a 90º angle. Keep your leg raised for a few seconds and switch legs.
7.- Single leg squat
Stand on one foot and extend the other leg forward. Little by little, lower your body into a squat position. Repeat the action as many times as you feel comfortable (minimum 2-3) and remember to alternate both legs.
8.- Lunges close to the ground
We will feel this stretch in front of the waist. Start on your knees and bring one of your legs forward (keeping the knee at a 90º angle). Now stretch the other leg back, resting your knee on the ground. Now lean forward to feel the tension.
9.- Stress ball
It is a fairly old instrument but it is still effective in improving our productivity and expelling stress. It is also good for improving the mobility of the hands and forearms.
10.- "Push-ups" crossed arms
Sit up and extend both arms in front (elbows at shoulder height and forming a right angle with respect to the forearm, Cross the right arm under the left arm so that the palms of the hands point towards the center. Hold the position a few seconds and repeat alternating arms.
11.- Forward lean
Stand a fair distance from your chair. Raise both arms above your head and lean forward keeping your back straight until your hands touch the chair. Hold your back straight for a few seconds and return to the resting position (but keeping your back straight).
12.- Rear leg lift
Stand behind a chair, supporting both hands on the back for better balance. Lean your upper body forward (a bit), extend your butt out and alternate legs as you alternate kicking towards the ceiling and lean your body forward. The movement of the kick must be slow and with control for best results. This exercise, in addition to strengthening your muscles, helps to stretch your back.
13.- Hip stretch (sitting)
Sit in the center of the chair with your feet resting on the floor (the entire floor should be touching the ground and not on tiptoe). Place your left ankle on your right knee keeping your back straight. Now, while keeping your back straight, lean your body forward until you feel the stretch in your hips.
14.- Spinal twist
Sitting on a chair with your legs aligned, place your left hand on your right knee and turn your upper body to the right (trying to look behind your shoulder). Hold a little in the stretch position and repeat the exercise on the other side
15.- Now that you are an expert ...
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