Long hours at a desk can leave your muscles feeling stiff and sore, especially if you are working in the same position or making repetitive motions. Add poor posture and muscle stiffness, and these annoying ailments could compound and create severe pain or even permanent injury. So it’s easy to see why studies say “sitting is the new smoking.”
But there is good news: research shows that taking breaks to stretch at regular intervals helps alleviate pain and stiffness in your body. And when paired with exercise, stretching also reduces stress and helps boost your mood. Regularly moving and stretching may also help you avert some of the negative long-term effects of extended sitting, like high blood pressure, obesity, and poor heart health.
Below are a few simple stretches you can do at work to maintain flexibility. These stretches specifically focus on muscles you use the most at work: your neck, shoulders, forearms, wrists, and hands. Consider implementing them throughout the day to help improve your flexibility in addition to your productivity levels and mood.
Bring your hands together in front of you and interlock your fingers. While keeping your fingers interlocked, turn your palms to face outward, straighten your arms until your elbows are locked, and then raise your arms over your head until your palms face the ceiling. Hold this position through three deep inhales and exhales.
This stretch aids in opening up your chest and back, and can also help with deeper breathing and better blood circulation.
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