Flexibility exercises are helpful for overall circulation and injury prevention, and can help burn calories while you're at work. It's especially important to stretch during long periods of sitting and working at a computer. You can do these stretches even during a five minute break. As with any stretching program, move slowly, and make sure you're in the proper position. Only stretch as far as is comfortable without pain. Little by little, you'll be able to stretch further. Here are 6 stretches you can do sitting in a chair or using a desk.
1. Upper and Mid Back Stretch
If you can move the chair away from your desk even just a few feet, you can stretch your back using the desk. Stand squarely on both feet and rest your hands on the desk in front of you. Start with your arms just slightly wider than the width of your shoulders. You can increase or decrease the width for different types of stretches. Step back and keep your feet shoulder width apart. Keep your back straight and bend forward at the waist. Keep your back straight and your knees unlocked.
2. Seated Head Tilts
To stretch the neck, sit in your chair with your feet flat on the ground and your back straight. Use your hands at the back of your head to guide the head forward, pushing the chin to the chest. Hold for 3 seconds. Then bring the head back up and tilt it straight back without any twisting.
3. Seated Neck Rolls
From the same proper seated position described above, you can do full neck rolls. You'll basically be going in full circles with the neck and attempting to not bend the back in the process. Start with the chin to chest and go toward the right. Keep the head basically in one position, letting the neck roll and guide its movements.
4. Shoulder Shrugs and Circles
Raise both shoulders as far up to the ears as possible. Then rotate them backwards as far as possible and then forward as far as possible. Then alternate one shoulder at a time going up and down, forward and back. You can then do full circles with both shoulders in the same direction and then in opposite directions.
5. Wrist Stretches at the Desk
Stretch one arm in front of you. Rest the tops of your fingers against the edge of the desk with the finger tips pointed towards the floor. Press and attempt to bend the fingertips closer towards you. Reverse your hand so that the palm is pointed away from you. Rest the finger tips as much on the desk as you can to stretch the inner part of the forearm.
6. Seated Ankle Circles and Stretches
You can do these one ankle at a time or both at a time. The farther you lift your legs, the more stretch you'll get in the upper legs as well. Flex the foot with the toes as far up to the ceiling as possible. Then point the toes as much as possible. Fully rotate the feet, toes pointed towards each other, flexed up, pointed out and then pointed down.