When you’ve been slouching at your desk for eight hours or more your body and mind begin to suffer. Studies show that looking down at a smartphone or screen can add extra pressure to your spine (up to 25kg). Leaving the office to attend a scheduled Yoga class might not always be possible. So we’ve come up with some simple stretches you can incorporate into your daily routine to feel happier and healthier.
Neck pain and stiffness are common side effects of sitting in non-optimal positions for many hours each day. Reduce tension in your neck with neck rolls to help keep your neck flexible and reduce strain. If you are wearing high heels, it’s best to take them off before starting these exercises. It’s also beneficial to close your eyes. Let your chin drop down to your chest. Begin to roll your neck slowly in a semicircle, allowing your right ear to drop to your right shoulder before taking your chin back to your chest and then left ear to left shoulder. Allow your shoulders to remain relaxed and don’t rush through any areas of tightness. Do three to five rolls and then stay for a few breaths on each side.
SEATED CAT COW
This is a great shape to make the spine more supple and to relax your back and shoulders. Sit upright at the front edge of your chair and put your palms on your knees or thighs. Breathe in and stretch out your chest and shoulders, squeezing your shoulderblades together and arching your lower back. Continue to inhale as you raise your head up and backwards and then breathe out and draw in your upper body starting from your lower back and then your abdomen and then your chest. Repeat eight to ten times.
WRIST AND FINGER STRETCH
Stretching your wrists and fingers prevents stiffness and enhances the efficiency of your fingers. If you have typing work for the majority of the day, this can effectively reduce any strain and discomfort. Start by pressing the fingers of one hand in the palm of your other hand. Extend both arms forward to stretch your arms and then pull your fingers towards your chest. Count to five and then repeat on the other hand.
STANDING FORWARD FOLD
This standing forward fold is a really nice way to stretch your spine and legs and open your shoulders. It also harmonises the connection between heart and mind, improving mental function. Stand up and spread your feet 3-4 feet apart and then inhale your arms behind you, interlacing your fingers together. Squeeze your shoulderblades together and look up before exhaling and folding forward from your hips, bringing your arms up and over your head, whilst keeping your arms and legs straight but not locked. Keep squeezing your shoulderblades as you inhale back to an upright position and exhale to release your arms.
Rest your hands about shoulder width apart on the edge of a sturdy desk and step your feet back so your torso is in a diagonal line to the floor. With your feet firmly placed, inhale as you bend your elbows to a 90 degree angle, hugging your elbows in towards your ribs, and exhale as you press your chest back up to the starting position.