If your job is anything like ours, you spend most of your day sitting at a desk, hunched over your computer. Although this may be the most effective position for getting your job done, unfortunately, it is also likely to lead to muscle imbalances, poor posture, aches and pains. Luckily, you are not destined for a life of muscle tension and tightness. Instead, be proactive by following this 10-minute plan from Eva Pelegrin, Fellow of Applied Functional Science and Founder of Attune Holistic Fitness. Designed to help decompress and lubricate your joints, break up internal scar tissue and release the tension and tightness that inevitably results from sitting for hours, these upper body stretches will have you feeling better in no time!
Neck Roll: Slide down in your chair until the base of your head rests on the top of the back rest (like in the hair salon). Very slowly, turn your head to the Right and then to the Left applying light downward pressure. You may feel a little bit of tenderness or discomfort on the back of your neck. You may pause on any spot that is tender and hold still until the tension dissipates. This is a self-massage technique guaranteed to make your neck feel much better right away. Repeat six times, each side.
Paper Towel Roll: Sitting straight in your chair, grab the edge of the seat with your right hand and hold your right shoulder down without moving your spine. Draw your chin back (keeping your head level), grow tall and tip your head up and to the left, as if you are placing your ear on top of a small roll of paper towels on your shoulder. You should feel the stretch in the right side and back of your neck. Hold for two seconds and return back to center. Repeat six times then switch to the opposite side.
Hooked Fish: Sitting straight in your chair, grab the edge of the seat with your right hand and hold your right shoulder down without moving your spine. Draw your chin back (keeping your head level), grow tall and tip your head to the left, then slowly lift your chin and jaw bone upward until you feel the stretch in the right front of your neck. You may deepen the stretch by shifting your jaw forward and sticking your bottom lip out. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
Shoulder Rolls: Sitting straight in your chair, clasp your hands together in front of you and make a forward circle with your right shoulder and then your left, creating a rhythmic motion. Repeat six times. Switch to backward circles.
Half Moon: Place your left hand on the side of your seat with your elbow bent and press down. Now reach your right arm up high and stretch it slowly over your head to the left, while continuing to press down with the opposite arm. Imagine that your spine and arm make a half-moon shape. You should feel the stretch on whole right side of your body. Hold for six seconds and return back to center. Repeat six times then switch to the opposite side.
Cocoon: Place your hands on your knees. Look down to your chest and round your spine, pushing your back into the chair’s backrest as you exhale deeply. Then, look forward and stick your chest out, while arching your back as you inhale. Hold for two seconds and repeat six times creating a smooth wave-like motion before switching to the opposite side.
Drawer Closer: Sit straight in your chair with your feet resting on the floor. Spread your fingertips on both hands and place finger tips (not palms) on the edge of your table, with palms facing forward and fingertips pointing to the floor. Push your fingertips against the table until your arms are completely extended and the inside of your elbows are pointing to the ceiling. If your chair has wheels, this should make it roll back away from the table. Now, tip the heels of your palms down towards your desktop while holding your shoulders down and lean forward. You should feel the stretch in your palms and forearm muscles. Hold for 30 seconds.
Figure Four: Sit straight in your chair. Knees bent at 90º. Place your right ankle on your left thigh. Your left hand should be on your right ankle and your right hand on the right knee. Draw your navel in, inhale and expand your ribs as you lengthen your spine. Hinge forward, keeping your back straight, as you exhale. You should feel the stretch at the back of your right hip. Hold for two seconds and return back to center. Repeat six times, each time going deeper into the stretch. Switch to the opposite side and repeat.
Tight on time? Just pick 3 or 4 of the above moves.