When sitting for long periods of time, whether you are at the computer or a desk, it is important that you incorporate stretching. Try to stretch sporadically throughout the time you are sitting in the chair. You may find you probably do this subconsciously anyway, such as stretching your arms in the air.
Performing the stretches mentioned here every hour that you are seated provides many benefits. You will feel more energized, your will have less muscle pain and your body will function better with increased blood flow.
You will notice that these exercises divide the body up into many parts. For example, while bending forward you imagine that each vertebra bends one at a time. This brings consciousness to each movement, which we otherwise ignore. It also forces us to use individual muscle groups designed for that specific task, instead of over recruiting other muscles to help out.
Please note that taking 3 deep breaths in each stretch is a guide, and feel free to increase or decrease to suit your needs.
Seated Forward Bend
- Move your chair away from the table and drop your hands by the side of your thighs.
- As though your back was a folding box, drop your chin to your chest, then bend the upper back forwards, followed by the middle then lower back so that your chest is touching your legs. Try to imagine each vertebrae bending one at a time.
- Take 3 deep breaths, and then bring yourself horizontal in the reverse sequence you went down. Raise the lower, middle and upper back, finishing with your chin. Imagine someone has a piece of string holding the top of your head making your spine feel straight and strong.
Seated Backward Bend
- Make sure your back is strong enough before performing this stretch and that the chair supports your lower back.
- With your hands in your lap, tip the head back so you are facing the ceiling, then continue to tip the upper body back trying to see what is behind you without turning your head.
- Raise the arms up straight out to your sides, feel the stretch and try to breathe 3 deep breaths.
- Bring the arms behind you, interlace your fingers, push and stretch the chest outwards, feel the stretch and take 3 deep breaths.
- Now gently let the hands go, bring your arms back to your lap, raise the upper body back up looking at the ceiling. then bring the head down looking straight ahead. Imagine that someone is holding up the top of your head with a piece of string, straightening the spine.
Office Chair Back Stretch
- Stand behind the chair.
- Using the chair for balance, bring one leg back, holding at the ankle, as to perform a quadriceps stretch.
- While holding the leg push the abdomen, hips and chest forward, then look up.
- Hold for 15 seconds then switch legs.
- Repeat several times then sit back in the chair.
- Sitting at the edge of your seat, turn to your left so that your hips face forwards, but your upper body turns.
- Now bring your right arm over your left leg and straighten it, making sure the palms are facing outwards.
- Hold for 5 deep breaths.
- Stay in this position turn your head so you are looking over the left shoulder and take 5 deep breaths.
- Now rotate the upper body over to your right, keeping the hips facing forward and place the left arm over the right leg, with palms facing out.
- Hold and take 5 deep breaths.
- Stay in this position turn your head so you are looking over the right shoulder and take 5 deep breaths.
- Now turn to the front and feel for the extra movement in your back.
Standing Forward Bend
- Stand behind the chair or desk at arms length so you can hold the edge.
- Lower your chin, so it touches the chest then imagine each vertebra bending one at a time until your back is horizontally straight.
- Now straighten out your arms and push your lower back up to the ceiling, you may have to shuffle the feet back to achieve this.
- Feel the stretch in the back, arms and back of the legs.
- Hold and take 5 deep breaths.
- Now lower yourself down so your hands can touch the floor (if you cannot touch the floor then simply hang)
- Relax and take 5 deep breaths.
- Now straighten your vertebra one at a time with the chin tucked into the chest until your straight again, imagining that you are being held up by a piece of string coming from the crown of your head.
- Sitting in a chair with feet shoulder width apart, place the left foot on top of the right thigh
- Let the left knee drop outwards, trying to push the left knee towards the floor.
- Feel the stretch in the piriformis, hold for 15 seconds or 3 deep breaths.
- Repeat this sequence for the other leg.