Working at a desk can not only be mentally challenging, but can also be damaging to your body. While you know that you should get up and move around in order to prevent damage to your muscles, it is hard to know what desk exercises are best. This article describes 4 desk exercises that can help to reduce muscle tension.
1. Neck Stretches
One great exercise that you can do at your desk in order to reduce muscle tension is a neck stretch. To do this, start by sitting up tall in your chair, with your spine aligned. Take a few deep breaths. As you exhale your breath, slowly drop your right ear down to your shoulder, and hold for a count of ten. Lift your head back up, and repeat on the opposite side. For a deeper stretch, again drop the right ear down to the shoulder, and this time use your right hand to gently pull your head even further down to your shoulder. Be careful not to pull so hard as to cause damage to the neck.
2. Side Stretches
This is a great stretch to reduce tension in your side abdominal muscles. To start this stretch, sit up tall in your desk chair, looking straight ahead. Carefully reach both arms overhead. Take a few deep breaths, and as you exhale your breath, gently lean your body to the left, letting your arms reach up and over your head. Hold this stretch for at least ten seconds per side. Repeat two to three more times for optimal results.
3. Shoulder Blade Squeeze
Sitting at a desk can often lead to pain in the shoulder blades, but this stretch therefore is guaranteed to help eliminate this pain. Start by sitting tall in your chair with your spine aligned. Slowly lift your arms up in a surrender pose so that your elbows are at the height of your shoulders and your hands are reaching for the sky. Slowly squeeze your shoulder blades together. Imaging that you are trying to crack a nut with your shoulder blades. As with the other exercises described above, hold this pose for at least ten seconds, relax, and then repeat another two to three times.
4. Chest Squeeze
Finally, a chest squeeze is a great way to end any stretching routine. This stretch not only stretches the muscles in your upper back, but provides you with the energy needed to make it through a long day. As with the other exercises, start by sitting up tall in your chair. Lift your arms into the surrender pose described above, with your elbows at the level of your shoulders and your hands reaching for the sky. Now, slowly bring your hands in front of your body, and lace the fingers together. Stretch your hands as far in front of your body as you can. You should feel a great stretch in your upper shoulders. Hold this stretch for at least ten seconds, rest, and repeat another two to three times.