5 Stretches to do at Work
When you’re at work or on the go, it can be difficult to keep in touch with your body let alone get a full workout in! Luckily, we’ve come up with a few sneaky stretches that you can get in throughout your day, whether you’re in the office, the car or out and about.
Here are some go-to exercises that will help you to quickly wake up and reset stiff muscles, so you can go about your day—while feeling good!
Seated Spinal Twist – For back and spine
This rotation stretch is a great one that you can do multiple times throughout your day—you don’t even need to get up from your chair! The muscles that surround the spine can become stiff over time, by stretching them regularly you keep your body mobile and can reduce aching back pain
- Sit on your chair so that the left side of your left thigh and shoulder are parallel to the back of the chair.
- Straighten your back and relax your shoulders. Ground the soles of your feet flat on the floor, shoulder length apart.
- Rotate your head, neck, shoulders and spine to the left so that you face the back of the chair.
- Grasp the back of the chair with both hands
- Take a deep breath in
- Upon exhale, rotate further to the left by pulling on the back of the chair with your right hand and pushing with your left hand. Inhale.
- With each exhale, rotate slightly further
- Passively rotate the spine to the right to repeat this exercise on both sides.
Cross Body Shoulder Stretch – For arms
If you have tight shoulders or find that you feel pain after lifting objects, this shoulder-loosening stretch is the stretch for you! This will increase flexibility and strength in your shoulders and will improve blood flow in this area.
- This stretch can be done sitting or standing—either way, be sure to plant the feet firmly on the ground, shoulder width apart.
- Your left arm above the elbow with your right hand
- Pull your arm across your body toward your chest
- Keeping your elbow below shoulder height, hold for 30 seconds while breathing
- Repeat with your right arm
Alternate nostril breathing – To reduce stress
While not necessarily a stretch, this breathing exercise is important for re-centering the body, reducing stress and encouraging mindfulness throughout the day. Alternate nostril breathing improves focus and rejuvenates the nervous system.
- Sit comfortably with grounded feet and a tall, straight spine and relaxed shoulders
- Relaxing your left palm in your lap, bring your right hand just in front of your face
- Bring your right pointer and middle fingers to rest between your eyebrows, using them as a gentle anchor
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath in and out through your nose
- With your right thumb, close your right nostril. Inhale through your left nostril slowly
- Before exhaling, close your left nostril with your ring finger. Continue your inhale through the right nostril. When your lungs feel full, hold for a moment.
- With the left nostril still closed, exhale slowly through the right nostril. Pause briefly, and inhale through the right nostril
- Repeat the process above for 5-10 breath cycles
Chair Pigeon – For balance, hips and chest
Do you ever feel like you loose balance when sitting in your desk chair? This yoga pose will help you to regain balance, while also opening your hips and chest. Loosening muscles around hips can prevent strain and tightness in these areas, but can also reduce anxiety!
- While seated—you guessed it—place feet firmly on the ground, shoulder width apart
- Lift your right leg, bend at the knee, and rest your calf/ankle above your left knee. Flex your right foot so as not to put too much pressure on your left knee
- Keeping your back straight, and arms crossed over your chest, lean forward until you feel a gentle to moderate stretch in the right hip and upper outer thigh
- Hold for 5-10 breaths and repeat with your left leg
Standing Seal Pose – For spine, legs and shoulders
We’re finishing off your workplace stretching with a fun, energizing standing stretch! The standing seal pose is great for stretching your shoulders, spine and legs while also increasing bloodflow to recentre you in your body!
- Begin standing, with your legs 3-4 ft apart
- Inhaling, bring your arms behind your back, grasping your hands together through interlocking your fingers
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together and lift your chest and chin to gaze upward
- Exhale and fold forward at the hips, naturally allowing your arms to fall forward (with control)
- Hold this position for 4-8 breaths
- Squeeze your shoulders, take a big inhale and slowly rise to your upright standing position
- Exhale and release your arms
The idea of “getting a workout in” during a busy day can be intimidating, but stretching your body is all about mindset. These stretches are not only helpful because they help you to move your body throughout the day, and encourage you to become mindful of how you are feeling. The biggest benefit of sneaking in stretches throughout your day is that you remember to breathe! Stretching helps our bodies to feel better, but they also calm the mind.
Looking for more stretches to incorporate into your day? Don’t forget to stretch after your workouts! Check out our favourite stretches to optimize the benefits of your workouts here. Let us know your favourite stretches in the comments below!