When you’re stuck working for hours and hours at your desk, having tight shoulders, a stiff neck and a sore back are some symptoms that tell you it’s time to take a break. In fact, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety recommends taking a five to ten-minute break for every hour you spend sitting down. During this time, it’s a good idea to do some light stretches, stand up, and walk around your workplace if possible. This helps you release the tightness in your muscles so you can feel more relaxed and energized when you get back to work. Here are some tips and suggestions to encourage you to get moving at work:
1. Monitor how long you’re sitting and try to stand more often
If you’re not aware of how long you spend sitting down, it’s probably a much longer time than you think. It helps to set achievable goals to shave some time off your figures so you can gradually start cutting it down. One simple measure is to stand whenever it’s possible. For instance, if you’re holding a short meeting, encourage others to stand instead of taking a seat. It’s a lot healthier and you’re actually more alert. Your muscles will be more active and you’ll feel better in the long run.
2. Set up periodical reminders to get off your office chair
According to some concerning statistics from Harvard revealed that those who sit for more than 11 hours per day – and who sat around for an hour to 1.5 hours at a time – are likely to live shorter lifespans than those who are more active. Because it’s easy to lose track of time while you’re at work, they recommend putting in little daily reminders on your phone to get you off your seat. Every 30 minutes or so, grab a glass of water to keep hydrated, do some stretches, or take a walk around the office.
3. Don’t overdo it when it comes to stretching
If you’re new to the world of stretching, you might be overenthusiastic in your movements and accidentally overdo it. That’s why you should make sure that you hold each stretch for a reasonable amount of time (around 10-20 seconds), attempt to breathe normally, and avoid overly fast movements, pulling or pushing excessively, or locking your joints. If you start to feel any pain or severe discomfort, you should immediately stop stretching and seek a medical professional for advice.
4. Do some seated hamstring stretches
If your hips are feeling tight from constantly sitting down, Pain Free Working recommends performing a Seated Hamstring Stretch. This involves sitting up straight in your chair, with your shoulders relaxed and feet planted on the ground. Next, slide your hands underneath your right knee, then slowly lift your right knee towards your chest while extending your leg out in front of you. Hold for 5 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
5. Do wrist stretches to prevent keyboard strain
Typing-intensive jobs tend to put you at risk of developing a repetitive stress injury (RSI), according to an article on Lifehacker. Often, this takes the form of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) in the wrists and fingers due to keyboard overuse. If you often feel pain or aching in your fingers and wrists, it’s a good idea to start taking more breaks at work and ensure that you have an ergonomic workspace. For a quick and easy stretch, try rolling your wrists in a circular motion clockwise and counter clockwise and move each finger back and forth.
Lastly, we also recommend that – on top of regular stretching at their desk – office workers should also take the time to do some exercise or Morning Yoga to start your day right.
Exclusively written by JBarber for Atherialfitness.com