If you find yourself stuck at your desk for longer than you planned, you likely feel tightness in your neck, shoulders and back. It’s easy to get caught up in writing, reading or doing lots of fun things online, but don’t forget to take a short break!
Time just slips away when you get working away on a project – whether it’s work or volunteer. When your passion overrides your sense of time, your body can pay a price.
Giving your muscles a break really helps them recover and it only takes a few minutes. Reward yourself with a few moves after you complete a task; it also helps your brain reset before you move to your next item on your to-do list.
- Get up and stretch your backside
After sitting for several minutes, your bum can go numb. Get the blood circulating again by standing tall for a few seconds to work out any kinks with a little ‘deskercise.’ Next, brace your hands on the edge of your desk and step one leg back.
Keep your front leg’s knee over your toes as you lift your chest and push back into both heels. Hold for 30 seconds on each side and repeat if you’d like.
- Side bends with hands slightly apart
We get advice to sit or stand up straight so often, but our bodies are meant to move. Open up your sides by standing with feet hip-distance apart while holding a wood-cased pencil in one hand.
Reach up so the other hand grabs the eraser end, then lean over to one side. Slowly take five breaths as you move deeper with each exhale. Repeat on the other side.
- Spread your arms like an angel
If you feel stiff during a long video call, turn off your camera for a few moments to give your shoulders a little love. Lean back in your office chair and lift your arms up in an L shape on each side.
Push them back slightly to open up the chest while you take five deep breaths. For a deeper stretch, straighten and drop them down to the sides as your muscles release any tension.
- Finger bends with a little bounce
Don’t forget those small muscles that enable us to tap away at a keyboard and move a mouse. They get strained as well.
Even though you were told not to fidget at school, moving your muscles keeps your blood – and sometimes your best ideas – flowing. When you’re not typing, grab some elastic bands and wrap them between your thumbs and pinkies. Extend your fingers while feeling the tension from the bands.
You can do this during a phone or video call – or even under your desk while consulting with a co-worker.
- Seated twist with visual target.
Place two Post-it® Notes on the wall directly behind your desk, with one slightly to your right and off to the left. Now, sit down and twist your body (not your chair) while you look over your shoulder for the spot of colour. Push on the arm of the chair to give yourself a little more stretch.
Turn the other way and look for the other note. As you get more flexible, you can move the targets to encourage you to become more limber. You can even write inspiring words on the Post-its to keep you motivated or to set a time to do your twists again.
While all these stretches help, remember that having ergonomic office furniture supports your muscles while you work. If you’re feeling stiff and want help in finding the right tools and setup to feel better, our team has the expertise to help. That way, you don’t have to stretch your time to fit in extra shopping time.