Sitting at a desk all workday can be a pain in the neck…and the back, and the shoulders, and the glutes, and the legs. Many people who work at a desk on a computer all day suffer from aches and pains, and also something known as upper crossed syndrome. This term refers to a tightness throughout your upper trapezius and levator scapulae muscles by your shoulders and neck, along with a tightness through the pectoralis muscles in your chest. This results in a hunched over position with your head pushed forward and shoulders raised and rounded forward. Proper exercises, stretches, and postural changes are the best ways to fix upper crossed syndrome, an aching back, tight hip flexors, and tight hamstrings. Here are some stretches for those common ailments that you can do right at your desk. Hold each stretch 20-30 seconds. Also, it’s safest to use a chair without wheels!
Clasp your hands behind your back, or hold onto the sides of your chair behind you. Relax your shoulders down away from your ears. Push your chest up and out. Lift your chin slightly.
Hip flexor stretch
Sit at the front left of your chair. Your right leg should be bent and in front of you, and your left leg should be to the side of your chair, behind you. Sit up tall to feel a stretch through the front of your upper thigh on your left leg. Repeat the stretch on the right leg by moving to the right side of your chair and switching the position of your legs.
Sit to the front of your chair. Straighten one leg out in front of you. Keep your back flat as you lean down towards your thighs. You should feel the stretch in the back of your thigh on your straight leg. Repeat with the other leg straight.
Cat cow stretch
Sit to the front of your chair. Rest your hands on your thighs. The ‘cow’ part of the stretch is done by lifting your chest and arching your back. Pull your shoulders down and look up towards the ceiling. Slowly move into the ‘cat’ position of the stretch by rounding your spine, pulling your abdominal muscles in, and looking down towards the floor. Slowly move back and forth between the ‘cat’ and ‘cow’ stretches 10 times.
Overhead reach side stretch
Sit up tall in your chair, reaching your arms up overhead, and interlacing your fingers. Drop your shoulders down away from your ears. Gently lean to one side and hold. You should feel a stretch on the side of your torso. Repeat on the other side.