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Nine Important Stretches if You Work
at a Desk Much of the Day

A Harris poll found that Americans spend about eight hours a day sitting, much of which is done at a desk. Across the board, work hours are increasing and so are the number of hours people spend at computers for personal and business purposes, so the chances that you spend a significant portion of your day at a desk are high.

desk work

Your body can only tolerate being in one position for about 20 minutes before it starts to feel uncomfortable. So while you're sitting at your desk, about every 15 minutes, stand, stretch, walk around or change your position for at least 30 seconds.

The problem with sitting at a desk all day is that it is not the natural position of the human body. It can put you at risk of back pain, poor posture, leg cramps, tense muscles, wrist trouble and more.

Fortunately, there's a simple solution to the aches and pains that come with desk work: stretching.

Stretching is one of the simplest, yet most effective, tools to keep your body and mind in top condition. For instance, stretching can:

  • Increase your flexibility and give you better range of motion in your joints

  • Improve your circulation

  • Give you better posture

  • Provide stress relief

  • Enhance your coordination

Best of all stretching takes just minutes a day and can be done in your office, even while you're sitting at your desk.

The Top Nine Desk Stretches

Next time you're at your desk, give these soothing, relaxing stretches from the Mayo Clinic a try:

  1. Finger Stretch
    Straighten your fingers and spread them apart until you feel a stretch and hold for 10 seconds. Next, bend your fingers at the middle knuckle and hold for another 10 seconds.

Stretch Your Way Toward a Healthier Life

Stretch Your Way Toward a Healthier Life DVDHere's what people are saying about Jacques Gauthier's "Stretching Toward a Healthier Life" DVD:

"Without a doubt, the simple stretching exercises on this DVD will add life to your years ... and years to your life!"
-- Dr. Jean Chevrefils, Quebec

"I found Jacques' stretching program extremely beneficial for my own chronic back pain and can recommend it highly."
-- Walter C. Prehn, MD

"I've had your videotape for a year now and have been doing the stretching intensively. My back and knee pain are now just a bad memory."
-- Pierrette Abel

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  1. Arm Stretch
    Reach both arms out straight in front of you and lace your fingers together. Turn your palms outward, away from your body, and stretch for 10 or 20 seconds.

  2. Back Stretch
    Raise one bent elbow over your head so your hand is touching your back. With your other hand, gently hold your bent elbow and pull it toward the back of your head. Repeat with the other elbow.

  3. Neck Stretch
    Tilt your head to the right and push your ear toward your shoulder. Repeat by tilting your head to the left.

  4. Chest Stretch
    Place both hands behind your neck and lace your fingers together. Pull your elbows back so that your shoulder blades squeeze together.

  5. Back and Neck Stretch
    Look over your right shoulder and hold until you feel a stretch. Repeat on the opposite side by looking over your left shoulder.

  6. Shoulder and Neck Stretch
    Tilt your chin down so it is nearly touching your chest. This will stretch your neck and shoulder muscles.

  7. Shoulder and Back Stretch
    Shrug your shoulders upward and hold for several seconds. Then roll your shoulders back and downward, holding for another several seconds.

  8. Lower Back Stretch
    Cross your right leg over your left. Put your left hand on top of your knee and gently twist to the right, looking over your right shoulder. Hold for 10 or 15 seconds, and then repeat on the opposite side.

Recommended Reading

How to Sit at a Desk All Day and Still be Healthy

What are the Top Injuries in a Typical Office (and How Can You Avoid Them)?

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