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Working from home is nothing new to some people. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, most corporations have shut down their in-office operations and transitioned their employees into work-from-home (WFH) setups instead. Working from home comes with its perks such as not needing to commute, foregoing business clothes, finishing your tasks right on your sofa, but also, WFH can take a toll on a person’s body.
As most people continue to work from home, our bodies move less than before. We also end up sitting (or standing) in our makeshift home office all day. In fact, according to a survey by USA Today, 26% of adults say their workload has increased and that there is a lack of separation between home and office life.
Due to that, we increase the chances of feeling more aches, pains, and muscle tightness. When we experience soreness, our comfort, productivity, and focus dwindle as well. To counter the discomfort and prevent further aches in the future, regularly stretching can offer relief and better health.
Why Is Stretching Important?
Stretching keeps the muscles strong, flexible, and most importantly, healthy. It’s important to maintain flexibility and to have a greater range of motion in the joints. When you sit in a chair all day or stay at your desk in one position for too long, your joints shorten and become tight, making it difficult for you to move. The moment you try to use your body for activity, you’ll find that you are unable to extend all the way, putting you at risk for joint pain, strains, soreness, and more.
When you stretch regularly, you can maintain that range of motion, reducing the likelihood of damage and injury. Aside from that, doing stretch exercises can also help you in taking a break from work, refreshing your mind as well.
Best Desk Stretches to Ease Aches and Pains
Spending hours in front of your computer can make you develop a poor posture, give you back pain, eye strain, neck strain, and more. Additionally, you can also end up with a tech neck, which is an ache you experience when hunched over your phone or the computer for hours. To avoid all those problems and more, here are some stretches that you can do. Try them out!
Face forward with your shoulders straight. Next, slowly turn your head to one side until you feel tension on that side of your neck and shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
You can also try another version of the neck stretch which involves you leaning your head forward. Next, slowly roll toward one side, and hold for 10 seconds before repeating on the other side. Relax your neck and then lift your chin back to your starting position.
Golfer’s Elbow Stretch
This stretch can help override elbow and wrist ache that happens due to repetitive motions. Begin by extending your left arm in front of you, palm facing up. Next, use your right hand to pull back on the fingers of your left hand. Gently press your left elbow up until you feel the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, and then repeat with your right arm.
Upper Body and Arm Stretch
Sit on your chair with your feet firmly on the ground. Keep your upper body straight as you stretch each arm overhead. You can lace your digits together as you stretch. Lean towards the right and hold for 10 to 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.
This one can be done standing or sitting. Stretch one arm across your body and hold it with your opposite hand. Next, pull it towards your chest until you feel a nice stretch in your shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat with the opposite side.
A variation of the shoulder stretch involves you clasping your hands behind your back. Next, push your chest outward and raise your chin. Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds.
Shoulder Shrug Stretch
To do a shoulder shrug, simply gently raise your shoulders towards your ears. Hold for a couple of seconds, and then let them fall slowly. Do as many times as you desire.
Stay seated and straighten one leg outward. Next, gently hinge and bend at the hips as you reach towards your toes. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side. Be sure to do this stretch with a single leg at a time and not with both legs at the same time as you could risk injuring yourself.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
Going by its name, you can do this one as you stand. Set one foot on a low desk or stair-step as your starting position. Standing tall, keep your chest high, hips square, and your tailbone lifted. Next, bend forward from your hips. You should feel a stretch in the back of your thigh or knee. Remain in the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds and then switch to your opposite leg.
Hip and Knee Flexion Stretch Hug
Sit on the edge of your chair so that your knees are at a 90-degree angle, your feet flat on the floor. Keep your knees bent, lift and gently pull one knee toward your chest using your hands. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat with your other leg.
Incorporating stretches in your daily routine whether you’re working from home or you’re back in the office. These can help relieve aches and refresh you as well, allowing you to work better throughout the day. Remember, if you feel any discomfort while doing any of the stretches, seek your doctor or trainer for professional medical advice and proper diagnosis or treatment.