Flexibility workouts are not just for those who break a sweat every day. In fact, people who spend most of their time sitting at a desk or computer are often at higher risk for injury due to the strenuous overuse of certain muscle groups. Below are three flexibility workouts that can be done at home or work to take the pressure off those muscle groups and activate the body’s healing capacity.
1. The “CEO” Workout
Interlace your fingers behind your head and cradle the back of the head. Draw the elbows together in front of you to stretch the backs of the arms. Breathe deeply. Keeping the fingers interlaced, spread the elbows apart as far as possible and lean back in your chair, arching the spine slightly. Take your feet off the desk, sit back up to a tall, neutral spine, release the arms down, and repeat as desired. Stand up and walk to a nearby door frame. Place both hands high on each side of the door and walk forward to feel a stretch in the arms or chest. Breathe comfortably until the stretch dies down a little, then step back and release.
2. Full Body Reviver
Sitting on a chair, lean forward and let the head hang, either with the elbows on the thighs, or lowering the torso onto the thighs, arms drooping down. Take a few deep breaths. Keeping the head down, stand onto the feet with the head hanging toward the floor. Keep the knees softly bent to protect the low back. Take hold of the opposite elbow if desired. Breathe comfortably and let the neck and spine release downward. Release the arms and gently roll up rag-doll style. Let your head be the last to come up.
Interlace the fingers behind the back and straighten the arms. Squeeze the shoulder blades together and breathe as deeply as comfortable. Interlace the fingers in front of the body and raise the palms overhead, facing out. Stretch the palms up and to the left, then back up and to the right. Feel the stretch down the sides of the waist and arms. Release down. Stretch the quadriceps by taking hold of the right foot behind you and pulling the heel toward the buttocks. Squeeze the buttocks and let the knee sink down toward the floor for a good stretch in the upper thigh. Repeat on the opposite leg. Release the arms out to the sides and twist the torso, letting the arms be loose like ropes. Twist gently up to 10 times each side.
3. Individual Pick-Me-Ups
Sit back in the chair and stretch out the right leg. Point and flex the foot 10 times, then rotate the ankle 10 times each direction. Repeat with the left leg. Stand up and stretch the quadriceps muscles to relax the low back. Puff out each cheek, puff out both cheeks, then open the mouth very wide to stretch the jaw. Close the eyes. Turn your head, then open the eyes and bring a distance object into focus with the eyes. Repeat 1 to 2 times. Sitting toward the middle of the chair with the feet on the floor, twist the spine by turning toward the right, using your hands on the armrests for leverage. Try to turn the head to look over the shoulder. Repeat on the left.