If you Google “the dangers of sitting all day” and you’ll get a whopping 3.36 million search results! Worry not, however. There is plenty you can do – without even breaking a sweat – to combat the hazards of sedentary office work. Here are seven stretches you can do to promote flexibility and to get your blood circulating:
Standing quad stretch. Stand tall, bring your heel up toward your buttocks, and grab the top of your foot. Hold for 30-40 seconds and switch sides. If balance is an issue, use a wall or desk for support.
Ankle circles. This is especially great for women who wear high heels. Make large circles with your ankles in both directions.
Shoulder rolls. Shrug shoulders toward your ears as if you don’t know the answer to a question. Then roll your shoulders backward and down.
Hamstring stretch. Lift your toes off the ground and squeeze your legs together. Touch your toes 15 times, even if you need to bend your knees to get there. Then elevate your heels and squeeze your thighs together; repeat for another 15 reps. After 30 reps, test your range of motion. Even if you can’t touch your toes in the beginning, you’ll get there in no time if you do this exercise regularly.
Arm circles. Hold your arms out to the side. Start with small circles and gradually increase circumference. Reverse direction and repeat.
Neck stretch. Bring your ear to your shoulder, alternating for 10-15 repetitions on each side. Rest, then move your head in the opposite direction, bringing chin to chest and back of head toward spine.
Triceps stretch. Stand tall with a neutral spine. Raise one arm toward the sky, bend at the elbow, dropping your hand toward the space between your shoulder blades and hold. Repeat 2-3 times on each side. Move only as far as is comfortable and adjust distance from the wall to suit your shoulder’s natural range of motion. Repeat on the other side.
The key is to get out of your chair and move for at least a few minutes every half and hour or so. Set an alarm to remind yourself, and dress mindfully to increase your options for fitting more small bursts of exercise into each workday.