Working from home has become the norm for a lot of us. But here’s the thing: working from your dining room table or couch with your kids running around might not be the best for your body. In fact, it could lead to bad posture, aches, and pains. It’s important to make sure you have a good setup and take care of your body while you work from home.
The human body is designed to move. And just because you may be working from home a lot more, it doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to aches and pains from sitting at a desk all day. Believe it or not, there are plenty of ways to stay active while still getting your work done. In fact, we’ve put together some of our favourite stretches for office workers that will give you some relief from sitting all day. Whether you’re a seasoned remote worker or new to the game, these stretches for office workers can help you feel better, more energised, and ready to tackle your day!
Why you shouldn’t skip stretching…
If you’ve been working a desk job for a while, chances are you’ve dealt with the dreaded tightness and pain in your upper back, shoulders, or neck. It’s an all-too-common experience, but you don’t have to let it take over your work week. By incorporating a few simple upper back stretches into your daily routine, you can experience a whole host of benefits that will boost your overall well being.
Some of the benefits of doing office stretches include:
- Reduced stiffness, tension and pain
- Increased productivity
- Higher energy levels
- Improved flexibility and mobility
- Improved posture
- Reduced risk of soft tissue injuries and joint pain
- Improved blood circulation
Bringing more movement into your workday is well worth the physical, mental and emotional benefits. Even those that exercise regularly outside of work can benefit from daily stretching!
Engaging in too much sedentary behaviour puts you at a higher risk for a number of preventable illnesses, too, including:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
- Restricted blood flow
Effective stretches for office workers
Ready to feel better at work? We’ve got some fantastic stretches that are perfect for office workers who spend most of their day sitting at a desk. These stretches can help you reduce the negative effects of sitting and improve your overall comfort and wellbeing.
If you’re still feeling tight or sore even after trying out these stretches, it might be time to seek some professional help. A healthcare professional, like a physiotherapist, can give you a thorough assessment and create a personalised treatment plan that includes exercises and stretches tailored specifically to your needs.
Exercise 1: Foam roller stretch
- Grab yourself a foam roller
- With your arms folded over your chest and your upper back against the foam roller, roll up and down over the area
- Alternatively, you can simply extend back over the roller
This upper body stretch is especially great for those that spend long hours of their day hunched over a tablet or computer screen.
Exercise 2: Bow & arrow
- Lie on your side with your knees flat against the ground and extend both arms out in front of you.
- Rotating your chest and shoulders, pull the arm on top back until your elbow touches the ground behind you (as though you are pulling back a bow).
- Repeat 5-10 times on each side.
Exercise 3: Kneeling rotation
- Starting on your hand and knees, place your right hand on the back of your head.
- From there, lift your right shoulder and elbow up towards the ceiling, going as far as you comfortably can.
- Moving smoothly, bring your elbow down and try to thread it under your left arm. Again, only go as far as you comfortably can.
- Repeat this movement for around 30 seconds on each side.
Exercise 4: Cat cow
- Starting in a position on your hands and knees, let your stomach sink towards the ground and lift your gaze up to the ceiling.
- Moving slowly, go as far as you comfortably can and hold the position for 1-2 seconds.
- Then, slowly arch your back up toward the ceiling and bring your neck down to look toward your belly button.
- Go as far as you comfortably can and hold the end position for 1-2 seconds.
- Repeat this stretch around 15 times.
Exercise 5: Hip flexors stretch
- Begin by kneeling on one leg, with the other in front of you, your foot flat on the ground.
- Gently clench your buttock muscles to bring your hips forward.
- Keeping your back straight, push forward until you feel a pull down the front of the leg you are kneeling on.
- Hold for 20 seconds and repeat this lower body stretch on each side twice.
Tips for incorporating movement into your workday
For many people, the majority of their work day is spent sitting down at a desk. We know it can be difficult to find time to move regularly throughout the day, so here are some ideas to add more movement to your day:
- Stretch during your lunch break—or walk to a local coffee shop for a drink instead of driving
- Set reminders on your phone to get up and stretch at intervals throughout the day
- Organise walking or stretching meetings instead of sitting still in a meeting room
- Take the stairs instead of the lift, if possible
- Move the bin away from your desk so you have to get up to throw your rubbish away
- Walk over to your colleague to ask them any questions instead of emailing them
If you have no time to do office stretches at work, do them before and after your workday—you can even take the opportunity to listen to a new podcast or album while you stretch.
The benefits of regular stretching speak for themselves…
Regular stretching can do wonders for your mind and body. From improving your posture to reducing stress and tension, there are tons of benefits to be had. These benefits include:
- Improved posture
- Reduced headaches
- Reduced pain
- Improved flexibility
- Reduced tension
- Greater range of motion
- Improved mental clarity and focus
If you’re experiencing discomfort due to muscle tension or stiffness, we recommend first trying out our list of stretches for office workers.
What if pain or tension persists?
Practicing self-care and proactive injury prevention will reduce your risk of a number of issues down the track—but sometimes your pain may be due to a deeper issue. At Integrity Physio in South Perth, our team of skilled physiotherapists are here to help you get back to feeling your best! We’ll assess your condition and create a personalised treatment plan that’s tailored to your needs. If you’re still not feeling relief from these stretches for office workers, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly team to schedule a consultation.