Unless you are an essential worker and on your feet all day, you are likely to spend way too many hours at home sitting during this pandemic. If you work from home, it may not always be practical to get up for a walk, but even a 5-minute stretch of the legs can do wonders for your physical and mental well-being. Apart from getting away from your desk, try these eight ways to stretch at your desk when you WFH. On a Zoom call with colleagues? Why not take a break all together to try the desk stretches that are described below? Doing these eight ways to stretch at your desk when you WFH regularly will increase the blood supply to the brain, reduce fatigue, prevent aches and pains and increase work efficiency. Let’s dive right in!
All the exercises below should be fine for people with back pain, although it is still important not to do a movement if it hurts.
1. Cat stretch
Clasp your fingers behind your head.
Exhale and round your back while lowering the head and moving the elbows towards each other.
Inhale deeply and straighten the back, moving the elbows to the side and the shoulder blades towards each other.
Repeat a few times in time with your breath.
2. Shoulder and side stretch
Take hold of the right wrist with the left hand and, keeping both arms bent, turn the right palm so it faces up.
Exhale and pull the right wrist gently up and slightly over to the side.
Inhale and relax the arms.
Repeat 3-5x and then do the same to the other side, holding the other wrist.
Finish by circling the shoulders a few times in both directions.
4. Neck stretch
Lower the palms so they cradle the back of your head.
Exhale and move your head to the right. Inhale to return the head to the centre. Exhale to the left.
Repeat several times, coordinating the breath with the movement.
5. Twist with chair
This position is not advisable if you have suffered from a herniated disc in the past 6 months.
Leaving the feet firmly down and hips facing forward, twist gently and from the waist to the side with an outbreath. You can hold the back of the chair and the desk.
Inhale and return to the centre.
Exhale, move to the other side.
Repeat a few times and, if comfortable, hold each side for a few breaths.
6. Glut stretch
Place one ankle above the knee of your other leg. If you want to feel more stretch in the glut, bend forward from the hips, keeping the back straight and the chin gently down to the throat.
Stay for a few breaths and repeat on the other side.
7. Leg and back stretch
Get up from the chair and lean forward over the desk. If you have back pain or very tight hamstrings, do this against a wall so the hands are much higher than the hips. You can find an explanation of that pose in this blog: https://beneyoga.co.uk/stretch-your-back-during-a-long-walk/
Position the feet under the hips. You can leave the legs bent if this gives a greater release for the spine.
Gently contract the lower abdominal muscles to keep the lower back extended.
Breathe in this position for a few moments, while feeling that the tailbone is lengthening away behind you.
8. Leg stretches
Place one foot on your chair.
Bend forward from the hips with a straight back. Keep the chest lifted. Just leaning forward slightly is likely to give you enough stretch at the back of your leg.
Stay in the position for up to a minute, or 5 to 6 slow breaths.
Turn the foot you are standing on 90 degrees to the side.
Stay in this position for up to a minute to feel the stretch along the inner thigh.
Turn the standing foot to face forward again.
Twist the body towards the leg that is on the chair. Keep the hips in place, facing forward and level, and rotate from the waist upward.
Again hold this stretch for up to a minute. Breathe…