Are you sitting from dawn to dusk at the same spot—for work, mealtime, and snack time—with the occasional toilet breaks, which are less than 20 steps away? Does this newfound daily routine sound vaguely familiar to you?
Before we know it, carpal tunnel syndrome is knocking on the doors of our bones. If prevention is better than cure, why not try these 11 top-to-toe stretches that help to alleviate any muscle tension. Stretching lengthens our muscles and prevents them from being stiff and sore.
Sounds palatable? Let’s go!
There are three types of neck rotation.
Step 1: Sitting upright in your chair, you start by turning your head to the left and right.
Step 2: Followed by tucking your chin down to look at the ground and lifting your head.
Step 3: Lastly, stretch the side of your neck by bringing your ear towards the shoulder, alternating between both sides.
Step 1: Sitting upright at your seat.
Step 2: Roll your shoulders backwards: bring your shoulders up, back, and down.
Step 3: Then, shrug your shoulders in a forward motion.
Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3 four times.
Step 1: Straighten your arms above your head and clasp your finger at the top.
Step 2: Push your palms outwards and push them towards the skies.
Step 3: At your highest point, your arms should be close to your ears.
Step 4: Hold the pose for 20 to 30 seconds before releasing it.
You should feel a nice, long extension from your wrist, arms, down to your upper body.
Step 1: Bend your right arm and bring the right elbow beside your ear.
Step 2: Use your left hand and pull your elbow towards your head.
Step 3: As you lean your body to the left, you should feel a nice long stretch from your right arm and the right side of your torso.
Step 4: Hold in this position for 10 to 30 seconds.
Step 5: Repeat steps 1 to 4 on the left side.
Step 1: Bring your right arm horizontally across your body.
Step 2: Using your left hand to press your horizontal arm into your chest.
Step 3: You can hold this stretch for approximately 30 seconds.
Step 4: Switching to the left arm, you can do a couple more repetitions on each side.
Step 1: While sitting at your chair, extend your left hand straight out in front of you, bend your wrist with the palms facing outwards.
Step 2: Hold the four fingers with your right hand and press them gently towards you.
Step 3: Stay in the stretch for around 10 seconds before releasing your hand and switching to the right side.
This is a great stretch for anyone and almost everyone who types on your keyboards every day. Do not belittle this unassumingly non-manual typing motion. Stressing the same muscles repeatedly over long periods in the same posture can predispose you to Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). It usually starts with a mild discomfort and escalates in severe strain in muscles.
For those whose chair has a backing, you will need to adjust yourself to ensure that there is ample space behind you.
Step 1: Place your hands behind your back.
Step 2: Clasps your hands and push your fist downwards.
Step 3: As you push down your fist, raise your chin, and hold the pose for 10 to 20 seconds.
You should feel a nice chest expansion during this pose.
Step 1: Placing both feet firmly on the ground with your eyes gaze forward.
Step 2: Twist your body to the left and place your right hand on your left knee.
Step 3: As you exhale, push your right hand against your left knee and look behind your left shoulder.
Step 4: Lean into the stretch for 10 to 20 seconds.
Step 5: Repeat this pose on the other side.
Step 1: Sit up straight on your chair with your back away from the backrest.
Step 2: Place your right ankle slightly above your left knee. You should see your legs forming a figure “4” in front of you.
Step 3: Place your right hand on your right knee.
Step 4: As you inhale, press down lightly on your right knee and lean forward. To ensure that your back is straight and you’re hinging from your hips, focus on a random object diagonally in front of you as you fold your body forward.
Step 5: As you exhale, slowly release the pressure from your right hand and sit up tall.
Step 6: Repeat the same sequence on your left leg.
This is a yoga-inspired stretch and is an effective seated stretch that opens the hip joint while stretching the thighs and glute muscles.
Hamstrings are a trio muscle group located at the back of your leg. Though hamstrings are one of the major muscles in the legs, it is not the strongest. Hence, during the stretch, there is a delicate balance between getting a good stretch and stretching the muscles too hard. One good indication is that you should feel a bearable stretch rather than a short sharp pain. Stretching your hamstrings increases the mobility of the pelvis and, in turn, reduces the pressure placed on your lower back.
Step 1: Prop yourself to the edge of your chair.
Step 2: Extend your left leg out with the left heel on the floor and the toes pointing to the ceiling. Keep your right leg bent and the soles of your right foot firmly rooted on the ground.
Step 3: Sit up straight and fold forward from your hips while keeping your back straight. To maintain a neutral spine, look at a fixed spot in front of you as you lean forward. As a start, it’s alright to bend your left knee slightly.
Step 4: Repeat this stretch two to four times and hold each stretch for around 10 to 20 seconds before switching sides.
Depending on your range, your hand can either aim for your knees, your shin, or your ankle. Most importantly, please ensure your back is straight while stretching your hamstring muscles.
Step 1: Standing hip-width distance apart.
Step 2: Bending your left knee, and kick your left heel back. Quickly reach your left hand to grab onto your left ankle, while your right-hand reaches for your chair or an unobstructed wall for support.
Step 3: While standing on your right foot, keep your right knee soft with a slight bend. Do not lock your standing knee.
Step 4: In the one-legged quad stretch, try to keep your knees align and next to each other.
Step 5: As you take in a deep breath, pull your left heel closer to your buttock and keep your back straight by fixing your eyes on a random object at eye-level in front of you. Avoid arching your lower back. You should feel a stretch along the front of your thighs.
Step 6: Repeat this stretch on the right side.
If your hands are unable to reach your ankles, fret not. All your need is a towel to better assist you. Loop a towel around one ankle and grab the sides of your towel with one hand. The towel provides an extra allowance for your hand to provide pressure to stretch your quads even when you cannot reach for your ankle.
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