Approximately 60% of working professionals have desk jobs, which means they are required to sit for an extended period of time. Not only can remaining in a similar position be uncomfortable, but in the long run can be hazardous to your health. A simple way to help combat this is to intersperse some simple stretches throughout your day.
Dr. Donald Littlejohn has been a successful chiropractor for thirty-four years and his unwavering commitment to top quality care has led him to achieve multiple accolades. His care and commitments, not only for his patients, but for everyone’s overall health, has enabled him to remain an active member of his community. Committed to lasting relationships and long-term health, Dr. Donald Littlejohn has some suggestions for five different stretches that you can do to help combat the stiffness and stresses of office work.
1. Chin Tuck
While facing straight ahead, slowly tip your chin down to meet your chest. Hold this position for thirty seconds, you should feel tension in the back of the neck down to in-between the shoulders, but no pain. Release and relax before repeating. This stretch focuses on the neck and top of the back, between the shoulders. This will help with neck stiffness. If neck stiffness is a particular problem; however, you should also see about adjusting the height of your chair or monitor to ensure a straight gaze.
2. Shoulder Stretch
While seated, place one hand on your elbow. Lift your elbow and reach across your chest without rotating your torso. Hold this pose for about thirty seconds. You should feel some tension but no pain. Repeat with the second arm. This stretch works on the muscles around the back of your shoulder. Stretching these muscles will help with upper back stiffness, specifically in the shoulder region.
3. Lat Stretch
While standing, hold your hands together above your head. Stretch out to one side as far as you can, hold for thirty seconds, repeat in the other direction. You should feel tension along your side and back but should not feel pain. One of the biggest muscles in your back, and used actively in many activities, your lats are more likely to become stiff or tense. This simple exercise should help to stretch it out and release some of that tension.
4. Seated Spinal Rotation
While seated, cross your arms over your chest to your shoulders (forming a W across your chest). Rotate your body gently as far in either direction as you can. You should feel some slight tension, but no pain. Make sure to keep your knees together, the stretch should be done from the waist without moving your legs. This stretch works on the deep rotator muscles around your spine. Not only does stretching these muscles help to release some stress and stiffness in the short term, but the strengthening effect will help to improve your overall back health in the long run.
5. Lower Back Stretch
While sitting forward in your chair, bring one of your knees up towards your chest — using your hands to guide and gently hold it. Hold for thirty seconds before repeating with the other leg. You should feel tension in your lower back and upper buttock but should not feel pain. Remember to keep your back straight, being very careful to not lean forward. This stretch works both the lower back muscles and the upper buttock muscles.
You may have noticed that this list goes from the top of your back to the bottom. This set of stretches, according to Dr. Donald Littlejohn, is simple, quick, and will help you to stretch your whole back, focusing on gently working your entire back instead of one region. As an added benefit, if you are feeling particular soreness in one region, you can focus on the corresponding stretch. In addition to these exercises, you can minimize back stiffness and soreness while working at a desk by taking breaks for a small walk around the office a couple of times a day.