With millions of Americans now working from home, many do not have the luxury of an existing home office. If you have had to cobble together something approximating a workspace, chances are it is far from ergonomically correct for the human body. Laying on the bed, sitting on the sofa with your laptop on the coffee table, hiding from your kids in a linen closet so you can take that conference call… you get the idea.
Here’s what’s happening to your poor body when you sit for hours, often in an unfortunate position:
- Shoulders: The rounding and slumping translates into very tight shoulders and “tech neck”, stiff and painful neck muscles.
- Lower back: Sore and achy from sitting for extended periods, sitting in an uncomfortable chair, sitting on the floor or some combination thereof.
- Wrists, hands and fingers: They get tired and can begin to tingle from being on a keyboard all day.
Your body is begging you to help it out. Even if you have a properly set up office situation and especially if you don’t, do yourself and your body a favor by going through these easy desk stretches.
Willing to invest 10 minutes?
It is a personal favorite because it’s quick, the stretches are 30 seconds each, and Dr. LA Thoma Gustin (Doctor of physical therapy) provides lots of modifications. Once you’ve tried these seven stretches, do them throughout the day. You don’t have to do all seven at once. Perhaps pick 2-3 to do on a short break every hour. Dr. Gustin’s recommendation is to spread these out over the course of the day: “more often is better than once”. You’ll need a timer, or you can go old school and count slowly to 30.
No time or interest in watching a video?
Then at least do shoulder rolls. Your shoulders, neck and upper back will thank you.
Shoulder rolls (30 seconds):
- Sit or stand straight with your arms at your sides, feet shoulder width apart.
- Slowly bring your shoulders up and then rotate them backwards making a few small circles first and then graduating to big circles. Push your shoulders down away from your ears at the bottom of your circle.
- Keep your body relaxed, breathe deeply and move at a steady, slow pace through the entire movement.