RYU TEAM | May 31st, 2017

You’ve heard it before: sitting is the new smoking. Your desk job is surprisingly demanding on your body and being a professional 9-5 sitter often results in you hunching forward, neck stiffness and eye strain from staring at your screen all day.

If you spend most of your days working away at a desk, here are a few office stretches that can help undo the damage of sitting way longer than our bodies are meant to. Taking 10 minutes every few hours can make all the difference in how you feel the rest of the week.

1. Thank Buddha

Having your wrists positioned at your keyboard and mouse all day can cause fatigue in the wrist and forearm, and your tendons can become inflamed. To get some relief throughout your day, put your hands together into a prayer position in front of your chest. Slowly lower your hands, while keeping your fingers pointed up and your elbows out, until you feel a good stretch. We call this one the Buddha stretch, and it’s one of our favorite desk job stretches.

2. Be The Tea Pot

To get rid of tension in your neck and shoulders, sit up straight and face forward. Tilt your right ear towards your right shoulder. Keeping your left elbow tucked to your body, bend your left elbow to 90 degrees with your palm facing the ceiling. Externally rotate your left shoulder with your thumb pointed directly behind you. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

3. It’s All In The Hips

Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet planted firmly in front of you, knees at 90 degrees. Cross your right ankle to your left knee. Keeping your foot flexed and your back straight, lean forward until you feel a stretch and hold for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side. This is one of those office stretches that might draw some attention.

4. Chest Day

If you hunch over your desk all day, you’re likely to develop tight chest and shoulder muscles. Start by standing up and interlace your fingers behind your back. Slowly raise your arms backwards until you feel a stretch across your chest and shoulders. Hold for 8 to 10 breaths.

5. Good Doggy

While sitting at your desk, place your feet flat on the ground in front of you. Move to the edge of your chair and sit straight up. Slowly raise your head and arch your back. Think of this as the famous Yoga ‘Downward Dog’ pose – modified as one of your routine office stretches.

6. Rolling Head

While sitting in your chair, bring your chin toward your chest and then roll the left ear to the left shoulder. Return to neutral and then roll your right ear to the right shoulder. To increase this desk job stretch, place your hand (same side as you are rolling towards) and apply gentle resistance.

7. Backwards Hands

A great desk job office stretch is to stand beside your desk with your arms straight down. Place one hand flat on the desk in front of you, keeping your arm as straight as possible. Slowly walk your hand clockwise as far as possible. Once you’ve gone as far as you can, hold for 3 seconds. Slowly walk your hand counter-clockwise and hold for 3 seconds. Repeat with your other arm. Bonus: Do this stretch with both hands/arms at the same time for maximum stretch benefits.

Office stretches should be repeated every 2-3 hours throughout your day to significantly reduce your daily discomfort. As an added bonus, you’ll increase your mobility and flexibility, so it’s win-win.