If you're tied to a desk all day long, chances are the last thing on your mind is office stretching. Not doing so, however, can lead to a number of problems. Office stretching doesn't have to take a lot of time and it certainly doesn't need to be too obvious. No reason for your cubicle neighbor (or your boss) to know about it. Take five minutes every half an hour to stretch your arms, back and neck. You can also do finger and leg stretches without even leaving your chair. Need reasons to stretch? Here are a few.
1. Avoid Pain
Not stretching regularly can lead to tension in your shoulders and upper back, especially if you work at a computer and remain in the same position for long periods of time. Even your wrists and fingers can end up tight and in pain without some proper stretching. If you sit all day, stand up so your legs and feet also get the added benefits of the stretch.
2. Improve Blood Circulation
Remaining in the same position for long periods of time can cause your extremities to "fall asleep." The tingling sensation you experience when your muscles fall asleep is uncomfortable and can turn painful. Stretching will improve your blood circulation not only to your extremities but also to your brain. This can help when you're feeling tired.
3. Ease Stress
Stretching can help you deal with the stress of work. As you stretch, breathe deep and ease into the stretch as much as possible. Let your mind wander away from what's around you and to a quieter, simpler place. Breathe in deep through your nose and exhale through the mouth. While you're exhaling, push a bit more into the stretch.
4. Reduce Your Risk of Repetitive Injury
If you spend long hours typing or doing the same work over and over, you're at risk for a stress injury. Wrist injuries are the most common but you can also injure your shoulders or elbows if you're not careful. Stretch and rotate your wrists and arms for a couple of minutes at least once an hour.
5. Improve Posture
Spend too many hours sitting and you're likely to end up hunching forward over the keyboard. Stretches that target your upper and lower back as well as your shoulders and chest can help improve posture and fight the tension in your back. If your muscles are tense, stretching will loosen them up, making it easier to maintain your spine straight after that.
6. Boost Energy Levels
Being in the same position and doing the same work over and over can leave you feeling run down. Stretching can energize you in the way that exercise would. Stretching removes toxins from your body, especially toxins accumulated in your joints and muscles. If you're feeling sleepy, try stretching your arms over your head. This simple movement is energizing and will wake up both body and mind.