Listen up, you need to start incorporating some desk stretches to give yourself a little self love. Working at a desk all day for years and years can become straining on our bodies and even our minds. I have been working from home for 5 years now and I know first hand that it can definitely cause some burnout. Even if you have a designated work space, an office, a desk or if you work from a couch, sitting all day takes a toll on your body. If you don’t maintain good posture while you work it can mess up your body and lead to aches and pains. I myself have this weird neck pain from years of working at a computer and lately it started to affect my workouts and just daily routines to the point where I couldn’t move. Luckily I met this wonderful Yoga Instructor, Kallie Rose, through my gym and she gave me some tips and stretches that can help break up your day and add that much needed relief to your work day!
Why You Should Do Desk Stretches
Sitting for long periods of time, whether that is at school or at your desk can cause long term health issues. When you sit at a desk for so long, you are wreaking havoc on your spine with a combination of bad posture and unnecessary pressure. You may start to feel your lower back acting up or like me, your shoulders and neck inching up. Adding in a couple of minutes of deep stretches will help relieve that tension and even help you release some emotional stress too! Because let’s face it, not all work days are all sunshine and rainbows! Taking a break to move your body (or even going on a small walk) will promote blood flow, stretch our muscles and getting that breath of fresh air will give your mind some mental space to heal.
Incorporating desk stretches will increase your productivity as well. Because when you come back to your desk you’ll have a clear mind and be ready to tackle any project with a fresh perspective! And trust me, your body will thank you for it! So without further ado, here are some quick 5 desk stretches you can do to bring in more good vibes into your work day:
Stretch 01: Cat/Cow
This combination of poses will help release tension from the shoulders, neck and back. First, come to the ground on hands and knees with a neutral spine. Place hands directly underneath shoulders, knees hip width apart.
Begin cat pose on an exhale breath by tucking the tailbone, drawing the naval in and slowly rolling each vertebra creating an arch like a Halloween cat! Press shoulder blades away from the ground and tuck chin towards chest. Pause here for a couple of breaths.
Then begin cow pose on an inhale breath by lifting the tailbone towards the sky. Keeping the arms straight we allow our spine to reverse directions, belly dropping towards the ground without losing our core engagement. Chin lifts away from chest and shoulder blades draw together. Pause here for a couple of breaths. Then alternate through cat and cow pose 4 more times each — one breath per pose.
Stretch 02: Ragdoll
This calming posture assists with relieving neck and back tension. Begin standing with feet hip width apart. Keeping a slight bend in the knee, tuck chin to chest and roll each vertebra down slowly, head toward the ground. Bend the knees as much as necessary to prevent any lower back strain.
Hinge at the hips and allow your neck to completely relax. You might hold opposite elbows and even sway gently side to side. Release the neck by making “yes” and “no” movements. To come back up, very slowly roll up one vertebra at a time, head is last to come up.
Stretch 03: Tree Pose
Tree pose is excellent for improving balance and strengthening the legs. This pose builds confidence as standing on one leg makes you feel pretty awesome. Please feel free to hold on to the wall or a chair until you feel comfortable. Begin by standing on two feet, slowly shifting weight to the left foot.
Bending the right knee, coming up onto the ball of the right foot, open the knee out to the right side (externally rotate) so that you can place the bottom of the right foot against the left ankle. If that feels comfortable, the right foot can lift against the left calf.
The advanced option is to lift the right foot against the left inner thigh. Any of these leg variations are fine, just do not place the foot against the left knee as you may risk injury. Once you are comfortable not holding onto a wall, bring hands either to hips or in prayer pose- center of the heart.
For a challenge, lift arms up, bending 90 degrees at the elbows and maybe even lean back to open up the chest. Repeat on the other leg!
Stretch 04: Quad Stretch
This stretch will help to relieve tension in the quadriceps and low back while improving balance. Feel free to use the wall or a chair to assist with balance as needed. Begin by standing on two feet, slowly shifting weight to the left foot. Bend the right knee, sending the foot behind you, drawing heel towards glute.
Reach the right hand to grab the right toes and try to press the heel towards glute. Try to keep both knees glued together. Hold for a few breaths. For a challenge, release your hand, trying to activate the quad muscle to hold the foot close to the glute this time without the hand assisting. Then slowly with control lower the right foot down to the ground. Repeat on the other leg.
The important thing to do with all of these stretches is to really sink into them and take deep breaths. Allow yourself to release any stress or tension that comes up. And kudos to my friend Kallie! She is a total rockstar for sharing these cool desk stretches with us.
Are you excited to try these out? Let me know in the comments!